Rumors (now denied): Olympus to shut down camera division in less than 8 months

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DanS

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Users should consider using the "ignore" button for folks who's postings they don't want to read.
In my opinion, In a world where more and more people blindly believe whatever they read on the internet, you should not be ignoring someone who states their opinion as a fact. You should be calling them out, and then they either need to own up to their comments just being an opinion, or back it up with verifiable and sound facts.

To be clear by "you" I mean the generalized version.


lets not forget this entire thing started because some best known as a "hacker" posted outlandish and unverifiable "News" on a website he runs.
 

WT21

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In a world where more and more people blindly believe whatever they read on the internet, you should not be ignoring someone who states their opinion as a fact. You should be calling them out, and then they either need to own up to their comments just being an opinion, or back it up with verifiable and sound facts.
IMO, this is only photography, not world-shaking geopolitical decisions. That being said, it's fine to ignore (if you are here for the art) or engage (if you like rumors and tech) on a topic like this, but we should all stick to the talking points, and not personal attacks.
 

rlb

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IMO, this is only photography, not world-shaking geopolitical decisions. That being said, it's fine to ignore (if you are here for the art) or engage (if you like rumors and tech) on a topic like this, but we should all stick to the talking points, and not personal attacks.
It's only photography to folks here, but to Olympus it's the reputation of their business and the jobs it provides.
 

Aristophanes

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In my opinion, In a world where more and more people blindly believe whatever they read on the internet, you should not be ignoring someone who states their opinion as a fact. You should be calling them out, and then they either need to own up to their comments just being an opinion, or back it up with verifiable and sound facts.

To be clear by "you" I mean the generalized version.

lets not forget this entire thing started because some best known as a "hacker" posted outlandish and unverifiable "News" on a website he runs.
Thats not quite the story. He was mostly repeating what was being said on Japanese business and photography forums. Whether or not he had inside info is doubtful, but there has been insider speculation in Japan for months since Olympus was forced to nominate 3 non-Japanese Board members, and in particular when Olympus did not included imaging in is outlook statements.

What the Anglo world got was rumours, but the Japanese media has been very critical and analytical of Olympus (and criticism for Canikon, too, given their woeful financials) for reasons having to do with increased mirrorless competition and their pricing, not to mention Olympus having a very shameful reputation within Japan since the accounting scandal. There are a lot of eyes on Olympus. It’s kind of at the head of the pack in terms being a target for corporate governance clean-up and rationalization. When it’s openly spoken of in Japan, that can only mean scrutiny of the money losing and market share losing imaging department.

I’ve never said m43 doesn’t have a future. I have said that the current model of m43 being a consumer photography standard is problematic in a market where mirrorless is the industry consensus, and high-margins are the antidote to contraction. Given Panasonic and Fuji moving to larger sensors for higher-margin products, I don’t see an effective Olympus strategy to do same because the smaller sensor cannot command those premiums.

The exact same dynamic has played out in video, BTW. The 2/3” , Super 16 and similar sensors with weaker dB capabilities have been steadily pushed downmarket by larger sensors. Ironically, the Panasonic GH5 was an instigator. Now, better performing larger sensors than m43 like Super35 (BM6K, for example), are pushing m43 towards lower prices. That’s why Panasonic went to FF. In the video world the entire market is being tiered by sensor size, primarily based on low light capabilities and the costs of additional lighting smaller sensors require (many broadcast long lens cameras are 2/3”, but require substantial artificial light to function). Because that market is so much larger than the still photography market and has considerably more revenues, it’s only a matter of time before those hard pricing tiers work against Olympus. m43 has no feasible path to higher-margins.

Fuji saw that with APS-C, when they went MF specifically targeting the higher-margin market. Fuji was very open about their strategy. They needed low volume, high price, professional products to compensate for the fickleness of the consumer APS-C lines. The market has shifted from high volume, low margin compacts supporting revenues towards a product array where more profitable products like MF actually subsidize the middle and even low-end given the relentless smartphone intrusion. And industry consensus is larger sensors provide those margins and therefore those subsidies. Even old fashioned Pentax has taken that approach. Olympus has to figure out what to do, and they aren’t in a good place.

All legit discussion.
 

RS86

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Thats not quite the story. He was mostly repeating what was being said on Japanese business and photography forums. Whether or not he had inside info is doubtful, but there has been insider speculation in Japan for months since Olympus was forced to nominate 3 non-Japanese Board members, and in particular when Olympus did not included imaging in is outlook statements.

What the Anglo world got was rumours, but the Japanese media has been very critical and analytical of Olympus (and criticism for Canikon, too, given their woeful financials) for reasons having to do with increased mirrorless competition and their pricing, not to mention Olympus having a very shameful reputation within Japan since the accounting scandal. There are a lot of eyes on Olympus. It’s kind of at the head of the pack in terms being a target for corporate governance clean-up and rationalization. When it’s openly spoken of in Japan, that can only mean scrutiny of the money losing and market share losing imaging department.

I’ve never said m43 doesn’t have a future. I have said that the current model of m43 being a consumer photography standard is problematic in a market where mirrorless is the industry consensus, and high-margins are the antidote to contraction. Given Panasonic and Fuji moving to larger sensors for higher-margin products, I don’t see an effective Olympus strategy to do same because the smaller sensor cannot command those premiums.

The exact same dynamic has played out in video, BTW. The 2/3” , Super 16 and similar sensors with weaker dB capabilities have been steadily pushed downmarket by larger sensors. Ironically, the Panasonic GH5 was an instigator. Now, better performing larger sensors than m43 like Super35 (BM6K, for example), are pushing m43 towards lower prices. That’s why Panasonic went to FF. In the video world the entire market is being tiered by sensor size, primarily based on low light capabilities and the costs of additional lighting smaller sensors require (many broadcast long lens cameras are 2/3”, but require substantial artificial light to function). Because that market is so much larger than the still photography market and has considerably more revenues, it’s only a matter of time before those hard pricing tiers work against Olympus. m43 has no feasible path to higher-margins.

Fuji saw that with APS-C, when they went MF specifically targeting the higher-margin market. Fuji was very open about their strategy. They needed low volume, high price, professional products to compensate for the fickleness of the consumer APS-C lines. The market has shifted from high volume, low margin compacts supporting revenues towards a product array where more profitable products like MF actually subsidize the middle and even low-end given the relentless smartphone intrusion. And industry consensus is larger sensors provide those margins and therefore those subsidies. Even old fashioned Pentax has taken that approach. Olympus has to figure out what to do, and they aren’t in a good place.

All legit discussion.
Could be, but that isn't because of "shooting envelope". And you haven't answered how it would be good for Olympus to put their focus on a new sensor products while the competition is very tough there seeing how Panasonic fares? Did you want those smallish premium weather-sealed primes or not?

Didn't they get better financial report now than earlier? How would you think factory move being finished for cheaper costs and E-M5 III looking like being sold out affects in the future? I think it will be a success even with that price, it's a total package and the size that fits many. They also suggest releasing some workers to cut costs, which has been a trend in many businesses in recent years I think.

To me it looks like you want Olympus to commit suicide (unless they sell their assets for 1 dollar like you said earlier) by going into FF or MF. Or just want them to do something because of panic, but not really suggest any sensible options. I think they are looking okay compared to others now that E-M5 III is out.
 

DanS

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What the Anglo world got was rumours, but the Japanese media has been very critical and analytical of Olympus (and criticism for Canikon, too, given their woeful financials) for reasons having to do with increased mirrorless competition and their pricing, not to mention Olympus having a very shameful reputation within Japan since the accounting scandal. T
How about some proof of these statements from reputable news outlets?


Now, better performing larger sensors than m43 like Super35 (BM6K, for example), are pushing m43 towards lower prices. That’s why Panasonic went to FF.
This is kind of a vauge statement, but i would be more inclined to believe the BMPC 6K, is a response to Panasonic than the other way around, considering Panasonic released earlier and announced substantially earlier.
[/QUOTE]


In the video world the entire market is being tiered by sensor size, primarily based on low light capabilities and the costs of additional lighting smaller sensors require (many broadcast long lens cameras are 2/3”, but require substantial artificial light to function). Because that market is so much larger than the still photography market and has considerably more revenues, it’s only a matter of time before those hard pricing tiers work against Olympus. m43 has no feasible path to higher-margins.
The video world is vastly more complex and not nearly as simple and strait forward as you are claiming it is. for example The Grand Tour is large budget production, and this is what they used.

https://www.definitionmagazine.com/journal/2017/3/7/the-grand-tour-the-small-camera-story
  • ARRI AMIRA
  • GH4s
  • GoPros
That was for season 1. If you go back and watch season 3 (the latest) you can still see Gh(x)s and GoPros in seens.


Simply put FF is not the be all and end all in the video world, many other factors come into play.
 
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DanS

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And another example, Sundance 2019.

https://www.indiewire.com/2019/02/sundance-2019-documentary-cameras-lens-equipment-canon-sony-arri-1202036323/3/

Movie: Gaza
Format: Cinema 4K
Camera: Panasonic Lumix GH4 + GH5, Canon 5D MKII, GoPro
Lens: Canon + Lumix lenses, Sigma 18-35 1.8, Speedbooster

Co-Director Andrew McConnell: From the start we were determined the film should have a cinematic feel and be as visually rich as possible, to reflect the vibrancy and uniqueness of Gaza. Budget was very tight but with the GH4, and later the GH5, we at least didn’t have to compromise on picture quality. For such small cameras the image is extraordinary and combined with the right lenses gave us the aesthetic we wanted. Much of the footage is up-close and personal and long days were spent with the characters working hand-held, so the small setup was ideal and allowed an intimacy a larger camera wouldn’t have afforded. Also, during the war and border protests it was expedient to be able to move very quickly.


 
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indeed the moving picture world is all about getting the work the director wants done as he envisions it and not about what camera format has better specs and not only in indie productions - making movies is far less personal to allow room for such omphaloscopy
 

Aristophanes

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Commonly used sensors for broadcast video are 2/3” and Super16, about 1/4 and 1/3 the size of m43, and both HD. They use those with $200,000 lenses because they can get the right # of pixels on the subject with huge telephoto, parfocal degrees of view and focusing respectively.

But this sensors are small, and come with an EV deficit so require considerable added lighting. Even mid-day sports broadcasts will light the stadium to provide added articulations light to maintain constant EV.

It’s exactly the same with m43 vs other sensors. Lower gain on m43 means more light to maintain constant EV and therefore IQ. Also, larger sensors usually have more pixels and deeper wells, so post is easier due to DR. The 2 EV m43 gives up to FF alongside fewer MPs and less DR is the “shooting envelope”. It’s not even argued in filmmaking that this is a given. Smaller sensors mean more $ on lighting, or unacceptable noise, and more challenging post.

And the market dynamic in video sensors totally reflects that. Once the K standard is met for a certain dimension, the IQ advantage of larger sensors just is. No arguing, no getting around it. The trade off is, of course, portability and lenses. I actually find it bizarre people on this forum contest the lower IQ of m43 compared to FF. No one challenges that in video. You either just mix a larger/smaller sensor in when needed, and be prepared to add more light to the smaller sensor given is dB and DR constraints. In market terms, though, smaller sensors (leaving the esoteric anamorphic formats and lenses out of the equation) cost less than larger ones reflecting the IQ constraints primarily. Portability is a bonus, fiscally and creatively, but once rigged up, sometimes a wash.

Panasonic “gets it”. Their entire philosophy is video first. They’ve done exactly as Ari and BM and others have done and made different systems reflecting IQ capabilities at sensor level based on size and format (built in ND really really assists). They’ve priced accordingly and went where the $$ life. By doing so, they’ve gained a new market for higher margin products not subjected to consumer price constraints, but still excellent stills cameras.

Olympus doesn’t have a similar strategy and that should raise concerns, hopefully not as rumours—the 8 month statement was pure silliness—but as reasonable analysis. Olympus itself stated they were looking for “high profit” markets, but I cannot see that for an m43-only product line. Instead I see them being pushed into the lower margin cheaper telephoto, cheaper macro, slightly smaller form factor share.
 
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DanS

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But this sensors are small, and come with an EV deficit so require considerable added lighting. Even mid-day sports broadcasts will light the stadium to provide added articulations light to maintain constant EV.
Yea, no I don't think so. I've been to a lot of day games at Wrigley, and they are not lighting the field, not even when its a heavily overcast day. The only time they light the field is as night, or when their is a strong chance of it getting dark quickly (thunderstorms).



And again where is the proof to back up your statements about the "Japanese media has been very critical and analytical of Olympus" ?
 
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WT21

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Yea, no I don't think so. I've been to a lot of day games at Wrigley, and they are not lighting the field, not even when its a heavily overcast day. The only time they light the field is as night, or when their is a strong chance of it getting dark quickly (thunderstorms).
I just checked my pictures from Fenway day games and same thing - no lights, though later afternoon starts do have lights, but that’s I guess to help with shadows and whatnot
 

RS86

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Commonly used sensors for broadcast video are 2/3” and Super16, about 1/4 and 1/3 the size of m43, and both HD. They use those with $200,000 lenses because they can get the right # of pixels on the subject with huge telephoto, parfocal degrees of view and focusing respectively.

But this sensors are small, and come with an EV deficit so require considerable added lighting. Even mid-day sports broadcasts will light the stadium to provide added articulations light to maintain constant EV.

It’s exactly the same with m43 vs other sensors. Lower gain on m43 means more light to maintain constant EV and therefore IQ. Also, larger sensors usually have more pixels and deeper wells, so post is easier due to DR. The 2 EV m43 gives up to FF alongside fewer MPs and less DR is the “shooting envelope”. It’s not even argued in filmmaking that this is a given. Smaller sensors mean more $ on lighting, or unacceptable noise, and more challenging post.

And the market dynamic in video sensors totally reflects that. Once the K standard is met for a certain dimension, the IQ advantage of larger sensors just is. No arguing, no getting around it. The trade off is, of course, portability and lenses. I actually find it bizarre people on this forum contest the lower IQ of m43 compared to FF. No one challenges that in video. You either just mix a larger/smaller sensor in when needed, and be prepared to add more light to the smaller sensor given is dB and DR constraints. In market terms, though, smaller sensors (leaving the esoteric anamorphic formats and lenses out of the equation) cost less than larger ones reflecting the IQ constraints primarily. Portability is a bonus, fiscally and creatively, but once rigged up, sometimes a wash.

Panasonic “gets it”. Their entire philosophy is video first. They’ve done exactly as Ari and BM and others have done and made different systems reflecting IQ capabilities at sensor legal based on size and format (built in ND really really assists). They’ve priced accordingly and went where the $$ life. By doing so, they’ve gained a new market for higher margin products not subjected to consumer price constraints, but still excellent stills cameras.

Olympus doesn’t have a similar strategy and that should raise concerns, hopefully not as rumours—the 8 month statement was pure silliness—but as reasonable analysis. Olympus itself stated they were looking for “high profit” markets, but I cannot see that for an m43-only product line. Instead I see them being pushed into the lower margin cheaper telephoto, cheaper macro, slightly smaller form factor share.
It's not really "legit discussion" when you don't discuss, but parrot same things over and over.

E-M5 III is pretty good video camera, "almost gimbal-like".

Aristophanes: "The 2 EV m43 gives up to FF alongside fewer MPs and less DR is the “shooting envelope”."

No it isn't, only a part of it. Dude, you're turning me into a parrot! Is this the third or fourth time?

"Ming Thein: "Every camera/ lens/ system has a range of conditions under which it will work optimally and be able to deliver the best image quality it can. This is its ‘shooting envelope’. It isn’t just the amount of available light, but also takes into consideration other factors such as ease of use, stability, and even to some extent, subject matter. The wider the shooting envelope of a camera, the more versatile it is; however, the tradeoff is almost always that cameras with a very wide shooting envelope in one direction are severely limited in others."

https://blog.mingthein.com/2014/06/11/shooting-envelope-what-does-it-mean/"

Anyway you didn't address how it would be wise from Olympus to go into the very competitive bigger sensor market with their limited funds. There must be huge costs involved in such a move and the returns are not likely very good at all.

In my view it's totally good idea to focus on their strenghts when M43 shooting envelope is so good for most people.
 
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Pluttis

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In my view it's totally good idea to focus on their strenghts when M43 shooting envelope is so good for most people.

Yeah, personally i think it would be wiser for them to make a big push in computational photography than going FF, mainly focusing on computational photography for hand held High res, DR and noise/high iso performance.
 

Reflector

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I don't shoot the Nikon Z series but I have toyed around with the Z7 + 50 1.8 and I really just don't find those PL results credible at all. They either have a garbage copy or there is something wrong with their methodology, maybe there's a field curvature issue or something. That lens seemed extremely sharp into the corners wide open. I'm generally a bit of an evangelist for the 25 PRO because of its rendering, but I did not get the impression that it had any sharpness advantage in the corners over the new Nikkor.

EDIT: Included DxO's comparison of the Z50 + Z7 and the 25PRO + E-M1ii with both wide open. I wouldn't worry too much about the difference in overall level of the curves as DxO's acutance definition makes that a bit misleading. What's important is the shape of the curves, the dropoff from the center to the corners is pretty much identical for the two lenses. Nothing like what the PL results show which just make zero sense from what I've seen.
Perhaps they're a case of copy variation but I'd like to see another source aside from DXO mostly in that they're a pretty awful source and tend to obscure their testing methodology along with playing very, very stupid games in regards to defining quality. If we accept DXO as a source, then we also have to accept that the E-M1II "outperforms" the D500 in regards to high ISO noise from DXO standards but I'm sure that'll cause a ****storm given the "a sensor slightly smaller than APS-C is intrinsically incapable of better performance let alone parity even with design differences" chatter I've heard before on various discussions across forums. I brought that 50 1.8 S up as an example as I have heard less than impressive things in regards to the S lenses given their relative volume+price from some others so I quickly did a search on the lens out of curiosity and that was the first non manufacturer result I could get.

In regards to sources: I will likely sway my opinion if there's multiple sources that test that lens out in the future, Lenstip being one of the preferred ones given that they're typically one of the better testers (and don't stupid games during tests).
 
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In my view it's totally good idea to focus on their strenghts when M43 shooting envelope is so good for most people.
that is why me thinks and repeats that after properly testing and seeing they cannot upsell m43 as luxury items in volume the way Fuji does (PenF vs X100&X-Pro) and after seeing lack of demand for an all out expensive pro body (EM1X),
they finally embraced what you are saying and if sales of the EM5iii are good despite my view of too expensive launch, they may finally give us what we really want and really need
 

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As far as I can see the whole notion of mFT having a "too limited shooting envelope" is very much artificial. I have not been in a situation where mFT hasn't given me a shot that I would have got with a larger format. This is also echoed by most other mFT shooters I talk with, and that includes working professionals.

Among working professionals who have switched from a full frame Canon or Nikon rig the general consensus seems to be that mFT offers them 99 % of the image quality at a significantly lower price, while being much more portable. They usually say that they may get technically better image quality, but you have to look at 100 % crop in LR and compare side by side to see it. Which is what the YouTube photography talking heads like Jared Polin and the Northrups always seems to turn to every time they feel that they feel that they need to justify the additional weight, bulk and cost of full frame. Then there is the cost, the days where photographers were employed by an agency that just issued them with gear they needed for the job are long gone. They are now self employed and have to pay for their own gear, and they still have to lug it around. With this in mind, the E-M1X and Olympus Pro lenses makes a lot of sense being 1/2 the price of a Nikon D(x) or Canon 1D with the respective top tier lenses. When you take all of this into consideration, it's very quickly apparent that by going full frame you are just chasing diminishing returns. The (relatively small) improvement in image quality is plainly not worth the extra cost, bulk and weight.

I also think it's good for Olympus/mFT that "everyone" is moving into full frame and spend all of their resources fighting it out with each other there. It also helps that they have an excellently mature system with several lens choices for most focal lengts, and a set of very competent camera bodies.

Unless your shooting style is dependent on shallow DoF with wide angle lenses, then you need full frame, for everything else, mFT will do. Well, that is my opinion anyways.
 
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RS86

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Yeah, personally i think it would be wiser for them to make a big push in computational photography than going FF, mainly focusing on computational photography for hand held High res, DR and noise/high iso performance.
Good point. And programs like DXO & Topaz are only going to get better. Prime & Denoise AI for example, for noise reduction. People say it's the same for FF when they use the programs, but really with M43 the help you get affects much more. I mean this in the "good enough" way.
 

whumber

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Olympus are supposedly announcing new lenses tomorrow. For me, that is a much more meaningful statement of confidence in the business than the press releases they've put out.
 
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