Olympus’ long and storied history in camera manufacturing came to an end late last year when its imaging division was sold to Japan Industrial Partners and renamed OM Digital Solutions. This new company has just unveiled an incredibly overdone website to announce that in the future, all “interchangeable lens cameras and lenses, compact digital cameras, audio products, binoculars and other services” will be sold under the “OM System” brand.
But what’s more exciting than the name change is the fact that OM Digital is also teasing a new Micro Four Thirds OM System camera.
What happened to Olympus?
Cameras have always been just a part of Olympus’ business, the brand also manufactures microscopes, endoscopes and other scientific and medical imaging devices. With the declining digital camera market, it makes sense that Olympus sold its underperforming division to focus on the profitable science/medical side.
Japan Industrial Partners, a financial investment group, bought the struggling imaging division earlier this year and changed its name to OM Digital Solutions. When that happened, we assumed it would only be a matter of time before they dropped the “Olympus” name altogether. And that time has come. Olympus cameras are now OM system cameras.
(Yes, we understand this is all convoluted and silly, but these are enterprise offerings for you).
What does this mean for my old Olympus cameras?
OM Digital Solutions strives to tell you that OM System is just a natural continuation of the legacy of Olympus. In fact, they’ve produced several slick YouTube videos to make sure you remember.
For photographers, this is a very good thing, even if there is a lot of marketing talk. This means OM Digital Solutions is taking its new camera business seriously. He clearly wants his Olympus cameras, which are no longer legally allowed to be called, to succeed. Which, again, is great for photographers; we love Olympus (oops, I mean OM System) cameras here at PopPhoto and I don’t want them to go anywhere.
If you have a sitting Olympus camera, there is no need to sell it and switch to another brand. Going forward, any new lenses or other gear you purchase will be branded OM Systems instead of Olympus. But they will still be compatible.
And it looks like there are no plans to end support for any of the current product lines. Although there are plans to introduce a new product…
What do we know about the new camera?
OM Digital Solutions also announced the development of a new Micro Four Thirds mirrorless camera under the OM Systems brand. Other than that, we have few concrete details. And lots of vague hints and promises.
The press release states:
[OM Digital Solutions] take advantage of the Micro Four Thirds System standard to create more compact and lightweight systems, enhancing photographic support functions that expand the field of photography and accelerating the improvement of image quality and photographic expression through to the use of computer photographic technology.
While the website says OM Digital will use five “key technologies” – “sensor”, “processing”, “optics”, “stabilization”, “compact design” and “robustness” – to deliver “essential benefits” like mobility”. “, “high-speed performance” and “run-n-gun moviemaking”.
Seriously, the only clear element of all of this is that OM Systems intends to bring “computational photographywhich has mainly been used in smartphones, to a mirrorless camera. It remains to be seen how it will work and what features will be offered.
Is this all a bit ridiculous?
In short, yes. OM Digital Solutions is clearly in the middle of a marketing campaign. (And apparently a hit since we’re writing about it.) There’s a lot of hype and promises floating around, but no real product to speak of yet.
Still, it’s pretty exciting to see the brand formerly known as Olympus come back to life. Hope it turns out like the Impossible project which, against all reasonable expectation, saved the brand formerly known as Polaroid.