Ever since Olympus announced in June that its imaging division had been sold to a Japanese investment fund, rumors have swirled about the future of its cameras – and now an interview with an Olympus engineer has given us a few more hints about the fate of much-loved brands like its PEN and OM-D ranges.
In an interview with Japanese photography blog Maptimes, picked up by 43Rumors, Olympus Image Processing engineer Hiroshi Suzuki talks about the strengths of the Micro Four Thirds system and where its imaging division could be headed in 2021 and beyond.
For Olympus fans (and anyone who likes compact, mirrorless cameras), the promising news is that, according Hiroshi Suzuki, “OM-D / PEN / Zuiko brand products will continue”.
The Olympus engineer also added: “Our ideal is to be able to take the camera with you wherever you go and ensure that you get the exact picture you want in any scene. We believe that we are still in the middle of achieving this goal.”
That all sounds like positive news for anyone who has been hoping to see successors to the likes of the Olympus PEN-F, and echoes some similar statements made last week by Nils Häussler of Olympus Germany.
In the latter interview, Nils Häussler confirmed that there will be Olympus-branded cameras in 2021 and also that the new company will be paying particular attention to the video market. This is also hinted at in the Hiroshi Suzuki interview, where the engineer said the company “will not withdraw from the video business” and “will continue to provide products, services and solutions to our customers”.
Interestingly, Mr. Suzuki added: “I think that the features of the Micro Four Thirds system are the overwhelming system mobility in the telephoto system”, suggesting that this could also a focus for future Olympus-branded releases. Wildlife shooters who are fans of affordable lenses like the M.Zuiko 75-300mm f/4.8-6.7 II would certainly agree.
Of course, it’s hard to make definitive conclusions from these statements, given they’re a little vague and not necessarily representative of the whole Olympus imaging division.
But they do suggest some new Olympus-branded cameras could arrive in 2021, at least if you piece together the various quotes from Hiroshi Suzuki and Nils Häussler, along with statements made from JIP (Japanese Industrial Partners) director Shinichi Inagaki following its acquisition of the Olympus imaging division. Exactly in what form, though, remains to be seen.
For example, this latest Hiroshi Suzuki interview adds weight to the growing suggestion that new Olympus products will primarily focus on video and telephoto shooting, rather than the hobbyist photography area that made cameras like the original Olympus PEN-F and more recent Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark III so popular.
Either way, we’ll likely get a clearer picture from January 2021, when the Olympus imaging division will officially be transferred to a new holding company, a move that will see any new products sold and serviced by OM Digital Solutions Corporation. We’ll bring you any official news on the new company’s photographic fruits as soon as they arrive in the new year.