Olympus announces intent to sell imaging business to JIP

AmritR

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I can't but help think it is Olympus and Nikon that should combine their camera business as both really in some ways have what the other is lacking!
Agreed, but Nikon would probably mess it up, and after a few years of management turf wars cancel the product line.

Maybe Canon .. :whistling:
 

Hypilein

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To be totally honest I don't think any sensor format has made great advances in the last years. For some completely inexplicable reason forum warriors expected Mu43 to catch up to the 4x surface area FF. And because they didn't achieve the physically completely unlikely they kept bashing the format for making no advances. The problem is that Sony FF did actually make huge progress in that time, but not in sensor performance. Anyone remember early mirrorless FF and it's usability. By all accounts it was complete and utter trash and so every new camera offered significant improvements. Not in IQ (that was great from the start) but in everything else that matters. Olympus was basically a finished product from Em1mk1 onwards. Look at how little they found to improve from the Em1mkII to mkIII. People complain about only two things on those cameras: AF (Olympus really did f*** up there) and Sensor performance (people are delusional and there was nothing Olympus could do).

In the end it was not that Olympus build bad cameras. It is mostly marketing that destroyed them. They did not sell themselves very well and others (basically the whole Camera-"Journalism"-Industry) destroyed them by overhyping the sensor performance aspect of the camera.

Panasonic is better off because Video is (for now) not so resolution dependant. When 8k becomes an actual thing that people/the media want (not need, no one will) Panasonic mu43 may also be in trouble.
 
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In the end it was not that Olympus build bad cameras. It is mostly marketing that destroyed them. They did not sell themselves very well and others (basically the whole Camera-"Journalism"-Industry) destroyed them by overhyping the sensor performance aspect of the camera.
Agree. Sensor size has always been the trump card in every internet camera review, with no reference or debate about real world applications of shooting at ISO 12500. And i'm not saying noise levels at high ISO aren't important, becuase they certainly are, but not to the degree that they are emphasized in every camera review.

Reminds me of a review I read when the E-M1iii came out. It was a blogger who got invited to Olympus' marketing trip to Costa Rica. Throughout the review, the author was pretty positive about the camera, and even made a statement to the effect that he had achieved the best wildlife photos of his life with it. And then in the conclusions, he trashed the camera for not being FF and not having an updated sensor, and said he couldn't recommend it to anyone. I'll post the link later if I can find it.
 

Aristophanes

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Agree. Sensor size has always been the trump card in every internet camera review, with no reference or debate about real world applications of shooting at ISO 12500. And i'm not saying noise levels at high ISO aren't important, becuase they certainly are, but not to the degree that they are emphasized in every camera review.

Reminds me of a review I read when the E-M1iii came out. It was a blogger who got invited to Olympus' marketing trip to Costa Rica. Throughout the review, the author was pretty positive about the camera, and even made a statement to the effect that he had achieved the best wildlife photos of his life with it. And then in the conclusions, he trashed the camera for not being FF and not having an updated sensor, and said he couldn't recommend it to anyone. I'll post the link later if I can find it.
No camera company can market their way out of gathering less light for the image.

It‘s not marketing. It’s pricing. Gather less light, charge less.
 

demiro

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I think @Hypilein and @Aristophanes are both right to some extent. Olympus should have marketed their products as "compact tools for photographers". And if they had to push in to space of larger sensored competition they should've realized that people pay for light, even if they don't necessarily need it.
 
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No camera company can market their way out of gathering less light for the image.

It‘s not marketing. It’s pricing. Gather less light, charge less.
I don't quite get your logic that camera pricing should be directly proportional to the size of the imaging sensor. Except for the cost of the silicon sensor chip, the development and manufacturing cost of cameras of similar capabilities and construction quality would be the same. You keep harping on the notion that Olympus was ruined because you can get a cheap FF camera for the same price as an E-M1, but the cheap FF cameras are just that -- cheap. If you want cheap you can buy an E-M10 for a fraction of the cost of the E-M1 series and get nearly the same IQ.

I am genuinely curious how you ended up with Olympus when you think that the cost to benefit ratio is not competitive?

EDIT: For example, a few months ago, I paid $1500 for my new E-M1iii. What FF mirrorless would have been a better buy? I looked, I couldn't find one, even ignoring the cost of lenses.
 
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Aristophanes

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I don't quite get your logic that camera pricing should be directly proportional to the size of the imaging sensor. Except for the cost of the silicon sensor chip, the development and manufacturing cost of cameras of similar capabilities and construction quality would be the same. You keep harping on the notion that Olympus was ruined because you can get a cheap FF camera for the same price as an E-M1, but the cheap FF cameras are just that -- cheap. If you want cheap you can buy an E-M10 for a fraction of the cost of the E-M1 series and get nearly the same IQ.

I am genuinely curious how you ended up with Olympus when you think that the cost to benefit ratio is not competitive?
In the film era, pricing mostly followed film size. Medium format was always more expensive than 135, 110, 126, APS, were cheaper. Same for darkroom gear (though it was much easier to print the larger formats).

Some overlap on features with higher-end 135 systems, like a Nikon F3 vs a Mamiya 645, but for the most part a Hasselblad was more than a top flight 135.

And they were marketed as such. Leica was always a luxury brand since the mid-60s.

This is exactly the same in cinema, BTW. Larger formats are always costlier. You’re paying more for more usable resolution (or data). With limited overlap, system price scales with format size.

Cheap FF cameras are excellent. The Sony A7II and Canon EOS RP deliver the goods. They aren’t really downmarket, and the Sony A7III is cheaper than the EM1.3.

There is no functional reason why the EM1.3 is $50 more than the Nikon Z6. Again, a Panasonic “gets it” when they price lower than Olympus. The G9 has pretty much hit the top price point for the 20MP m43 sensor.

About the only exception might be top tier video like the GH series. But that’s an inherently professional market thrust. Video is 50x the paying gig potential than stills photography. It’s less “consumer”.

Arguing against the intrinsic structure of the tech, resolution, and market is futile. Even if people don’t “need” the added resolution they will purchase for the “maybe” possibility, like SUVs and sports cars (where pretty much all auto industry profit is made...the Totyota Corolla apparently breaks even). This has zip to do with supposed media industry “fake news” about m43. It’s just straight up market dynamics as they’ve been applied to the photographic industry for the last 70 years.

It doesn’t help when the AF on other brands regardless of sensor size is more reliable than m43.

The market has totally disciplined Olympus. JIP was brought in to discipline Olympus.
 
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Cheap FF cameras are excellent. The Sony A7II and Canon EOS RP deliver the goods. They aren’t really downmarket, and the Sony A7III is cheaper than the EM1.3.

There is no functional reason why the EM1.3 is $50 more than the Nikon Z6. Again, a Panasonic “gets it” when they price lower than Olympus. The G9 has pretty much hit the top price point for the 20MP m43 sensor.
Prices must be different in your market, because in the US, both the Sony A7III and Nikon Z6 are $200 more than the E-M1iii.

And, except for the sensor size, in my opinion the EOS RP feature set compares more with the E-M10 series than the E-M1.
 
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Aristophanes

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Prices must be different in your market, because in the US, both the Sony A7III and Nikon Z6 are $200 more than the E-M1iii.

And, except for the sensor size, in my opinion the EOS RP feature set compares more with the E-M10 series than the E-M1.
The Z6 was $1549 the other day. It’s back up to $1799. It’s been Nikon refurbished for $1299. The EM1.3 is marked down $500. Both are marked down $200. Nikon’s Z5 is supposedly coming in just over $1k.

EOS RP is closer to the EM5. Its AF smokes Olympus. 26MP FF sensor vs the EM10 16MP m43 sensor? The RP comes with a kits lens for $999. The EM5.3 does not. The EM5.3 with 12-45 kits is the same price as the RP with 24-240. Olympus has clearly over-weighted the “feature set” value and price point compared to sensor size.

These are only the first iterations of FF $1k. Sony will move down as well. The next gen FF at $1k in the next 24 months will determine where smaller sensor price points must be. Fuji, too, will feel, that pressure. The trajectory is set. Olympus cannot solve that quandary. JIP has to.

Pricing and sensor size are too close with Olympus price points vs FF. When all the other competitors make sharp breaks between price points and sensor size, and Olympus does not (including Panasonic), you readily see why Olympus is in trouble.
 
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Whilst the biggest let down for Olympus (IMO) is the sensor performance (low light, AF, etc), this has also led to its greatest strength, the ability to have a 600f4 lens that is 10k cheaper in price and the size of your forearm.

In the past when I worked and met with other photographers (99% of whom had Canon, Nikon, Sony) they at first were surprised that I shot Olympus, for they don't see many people who do. That then led to curiosity as to why I shoot Olympus, and I would show them the size, weight, price and more importantly the results I get with MFT. 🤯 it's like they have seen sliced bread for the first time.

Whilst I cannot talk about how Olympus has been managed as a business overall, I can say from what I have seen, they do a terrible job of marketing their products and innovation. I mean just look at their ads, website, social etc. It's embarrassing.

No point in innovating if you are not able to create enough desire for the product.
 
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Given that, for example, Sigma, can sell quality lenses for significantly less than Olympus has chosen to in the past..

I wonder if there's a lower-R&D discount model that would keep sales going and their existing factories utilized.
 

AmritR

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X
...

EOS RP is closer to the EM5. Its AF smokes Olympus. 26MP FF sensor vs the EM10 16MP m43 sensor? The RP comes with a kits lens for $999. The EM5.3 does not. The EM5.3 with 12-45 kits is the same price as the RP with 24-240. Olympus has clearly over-weighted the “feature set” value and price point compared to sensor size.

...
Suppose you’re going on safari, the Canon would probably be awesome. But I fear those RP’s are bricks in empty stores as well. No one is going on safari these days.

I fear the RP is also just catering the usual suspects. As will the Z5 next. More bricks.

I can just hear those heated discussions in Japanese management/products boards:
‘CEO: A child of 5 could understand this!
’CTO: Send someone to fetch a child of five!
(Groucho Marx)

It’s getting very crowded on that melting rock of ice. Those camera companies are in so much trouble, it’s unbelievable.
 

Aristophanes

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X


Suppose you’re going on safari, the Canon would probably be awesome. But I fear those RP’s are bricks in empty stores as well. No one is going on safari these days.

I fear the RP is also just catering the usual suspects. As will the Z5 next. More bricks.

I can just hear those heated discussions in Japanese management/products boards:
‘CEO: A child of 5 could understand this!
’CTO: Send someone to fetch a child of five!
(Groucho Marx)

It’s getting very crowded on that melting rock of ice. Those camera companies are in so much trouble, it’s unbelievable.
Safari?

Dad: “I’d like better than smartphone photos for kid birthday. Time for a real camera.”
B&H: “Checkout is now open. Happy Rosh Hashana!”
Dad: “Canon. $999. Good. Better check reviews.”
DPR: “But it doesn’t have weather sealing. You MUST have that.”
Dad: “I don’t use my phone camera in the rain. I live in Alberta.”
DPR: “You don’t NEED such a large sensor!”
Dad: “I drive an SUV.”
DPR: “The kit lens isn’t very good. You need a tiny prime!”
Dad: “Right. The 35/1.8 is good. I’ll add that. And the EM5 doesn’t even come with a kit lens for $999.”
DPR: “The video is cropped!”
Dad: “To about the same size as m43 in the end. Besides, my phone is good enough for video.”
DPR: “Canon lost money.”
Dad: “Olympus lost far, far more.”
B&H: “Thank -you. You receipt for the Canon EOS RP with 24-105 and 35 lenses is complete. US$1500 + tax.”

Not bricks. Just there to move whatever demand exists....with Canon on faceplate.
 

Gonewest

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My m43 kit is probably modest compared to many of you but, like a car, it’s been losing value since I bought it. Also like my car, I plan on running it into the ground replacing what’s needed as I have to. The money saved from not jumping systems will be put to much better use on a new bike!
 

BDR-529

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So there were 1.4bn phones sold and 8.5m ILCs. There are how many ILC camera makers - Nikon, canon, Sony, Fuji, Olympus, panasonic, and toss in Leica, sigma and pentax. That’s 9 for a market that’s 1/165th the size of the phone market served by how many vendors? Maybe a similar amount (the main players at least)?

There’s not enough ILC market for 9 vendors, given the expected level of R&D. It’s a niche market and more will have to drop out and any of the players could do it, including Sony (given their history), Canon (I think they are least likely) and Nikon (hopefully not, but they seem to be asking themself these questions).
Just to continue yesterdays topic: after looking at these numbers it should also be pretty obvious why even the latest ILC-size sensors are just minor improvements over 5-6 year old versions.

Sensor manufacturers must decide whether they allocate R&D budget for
1) segment that will buy at least 3-4 billion sensors each year (Note: cheap smartphones have 2 cameras, mid-range 3 and high end 4-5)
2) segment that will buy 0,009 billion sensors even though unit price might be higher. Practically every manufacturer is bleeding money and sales keep declining.

Note also that the numbers I gave cover only cameras. Major camera brands used to have a full portfolio of camcorders as well. Camcorders are all but dead and not only due to smartphones. Mirrorless hybrid cameras have managed to kill even low end professional camcorders and especially Panasonic MFT models have been a spectacular success in this segment.

This is why I was so horrified to realize that Olympus didn't launch both E-M1 Mark III and E-M1X as greatest hybrid cameras in existence with video specs that at least match GH5 but with better autofocus (an autofocus that merely works would already win pana customers) and IBIS. Instead both were relesead as the most expensive image-centric MTF cameras in market and they tried to compete head to head against the latest mid-priced FF bodies in the middle of heated FF-hype. Oh, and at Olympus price range even FF bodies were already very much hybrid cameras with at least 10bit [email protected] Small wonder why everything ended the way it did with Olympus.

It's absolutely bizarre that these bodies can even shoot ful-res images at 60fps but NOT record [email protected] which instantly removes them from all hybrid buyers shortlists in 2020. Panasonic managed to add these video specs even into old G9 HW with a free FW update so Olympus should be able to do the same. And also totally redesign the menu system which looks like this entire "video shooting"-thingy is fad that will go away but let's still glue on some knobs and levers for those few whiners.
 
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Aristophanes

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Just to continue yesterdays topic: after looking at these numbers it should also be pretty obvious why even the latest ILC-size sensors are just minor improvements over 5-6 year old versions.

Sensor manufacturers must decide whether they allocate R&D budget for
1) segment that will buy at least 3-4 billion sensors each year (cheap smarphones have 2 cameras, mid-range 3 and high end 4-5)
2) segment that will buy 0,009 billion sensors even though unit price might be higher. Practically every manufacturer is bleeding money and sales keep declining.

Note also that the numbers I gave cover only cameras. Major camera brands used to have a full portfolio of camcorders as well. Camcorders are all but dead and not only due to smartphones. Mirrorless hybrid cameras have managed to kill even low end professional camcorders and especially Panasonic MFT models have been a spectacular success in this segment.

This is why I was so horrified to realize that Olympus didn't launch both E-M1 Mark III and E-M1X as greatest hybrid cameras in existence with video specs that at least match GH5 but with better autofocus (an autofocus that merely works would already win pana customers) and IBIS. Instead both were relesead as the most expensive image-centric MTF cameras in market and they tried to compete head to head against the latest mid-priced FF bodies in the middle of heated FF-hype. Oh, and at Olympus price range even FF bodies were already very much hybrid cameras with at least 10bit [email protected] Small wonder why everything ended the way it did with Olympus.

It's absolutely bizarre that these bodies can even shoot ful-res images at 60fps but NOT record [email protected] which instantly removes them from all hybrid buyers shortlists in 2020. Panasonic managed to add these video specs even into old G9 HW with a free FW update so Olympus should be able to do the same. And also totally redesign the menu system which looks like this entire "video shooting"-thingy is fad that will go away but let's still glue on some knobs and levers for those few whiners.
Most videographers use manual focus, especially at this price point.
Video codecs cost $$. Olympus was probably trying to save a few $$ k owing they weren’t going to sway most Panasonic customers.
”Hybrid” may not be a selling point. It can meant everything is compromised.
There may be heat issues.
Menus.....sigh.
 

BDR-529

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Most videographers use manual focus, especially at this price point.
Video codecs cost $$. Olympus was probably trying to save a few $$ k owing they weren’t going to sway most Panasonic customers.
”Hybrid” may not be a selling point. It can meant everything is compromised.
There may be heat issues.
Menus.....sigh.
Best price I have seen for both GH5 and G9 during last couple of months was just over 900€ if ordered inside EU where I live.
Now G9 is just north of 1000€ and GH5 1200€
Best price - even after Olympus news - for E-M1 Mark III is still 1600€ and 2300€ for E-M1X

So where on earth did Olympus put all that "saved money" if they had to leave out codecs to reduce cost? Both latest Olympus models are still just 20MPix MFT bodies without a single feature that would explain the price premium over Panasonic.

At this price point Panasonic can sell MFT cameras to just about anybody who sees photograpy and video as a serious hobby and is pleased to discover that everything can be covered with a single body that costs less than half of FF camera with equivalent features. Not to mention the selection and price of lenses for MFT system.

Panasonic is not trying to compete against FF with MFT but instead sell these to FF owners as the second hybrid camera which can do everything FF can but is easier to carry during travel or long shooting day at the customer site.

Writing has been on the wall since 2017 when GH5 was launched so Olympus management knew very well that thanks to FF hype, only segment left for MFT is hybrid camera which provides best bang for the buck even when absolute specs are not state of the art in 2020 anymore.

Yet they decided to launch two cameras with enough proceccing power to shoot even full-res images at 60fps but removed even the most trivial features which would have made these agile hybrid models. What Olympus did is essentially the same as if Subaru releases high end model with full 4wd powertrain installed but disables it in SW and sells cars as front drive only but at 4wd price point.
 
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pdk42

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Saw this posted on the UK e-Group forum. I find it hard to believe, but it is great news if it is true:

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