So long, Olympus (?)

From here:

Well, blame me (a small amount) I guess. I haven’t bought an Olympus camera in years. Had a digital Olympus pocket camera, but I dropped it. I have an OM-1N and an OM-4. The OM-4 is nice, but I prefer my Nikon FM3a. The OM-1 is probably my favourite. Awesome camera, even if I have to use an adapter for the battery.

I have an Olympus Stylus that I acquired somewhere as my main travel camera, but I prefer the wife’s Nikon. As long as I can get a battery for it when the old one finally won’t take a charge, I’m good. And the battery is used by 4 or so other brands, so that isn’t a problem.

When I still did serious photography, back when everybody still used film, my choice of equipment was all Canon.

Never had one of their film SLRs, but was quite fond of my little, truly pocketable XA.

In digital, have long preferred Canon or Panasonic. Had an Olympus superzoom model briefly, but found it maddeningly unintuitive to use and sold it on. A few years later I went looking for something in the Micro 4/3 fomat and ended up with an Olympus E-PM1; to my regret as it happens because again I find it very uncomfortable to work with. It just sits around while admittedly less capable machines get all the use.

My family shares some of the blame, too. Back in the days of film cameras, Mr. Legend, his dad, and his brother each had an OM-1, complete with bells, whistles, and large collections of lenses, but as we’ve transitioned to digital, we all went with Canon. We held out for a long time, and we looked at what Olympus had to offer, but in the end Canon just had more of what we wanted.

I remember an Olympus Trip-35 my mother had in the 1970s (I wonder what became of it). And later on I liked the style of those slick little Stylus compacts. But yes, in the 21st Century this household has been absorbed into the Canon/Nikon virtual duopoly. I remember when I first shopped for digital, Olympus might have been it but at the time they had insisted on a different storage card standard nobody else used and I was wary of that.

I had to look that up. Looked like a handy little camera. Of course I can’t just look for one thing, so I looked for OM-1s on eBay. This one has two bits and is at $41 with four and a half hours to go. Tempting at the price. But I already have an OM-1 and an OM-4 (plus a Canon AE-1 Program, Nikon FM2, Nikon FM3a, and a Pentax K-1000) so I’m going to pass. There’s another kit currently at $20.

Lots of Trip 35s too.

Bids, not ‘bits’. :smack:

Deep Roots of Fraud at Olympus (New York Times). Click the link in the first paragraph, too.

Ah! I remember hearing about that on NPR!

Whoa. And I thought Olympus had made the classic Sony mistake of trying to proprietize and limit its products when it was not the dominant seller. Wasn’t it the only one using XD (?) memory cards instead of CF or SD cards? I seem to recall rejecting an Olympus camera when shopping precisely because it used a difficult-to-find memory card.

Kodak, now Olympus…I expect most of the camera mfgs. will go out of business within the next 5 years. With 16 Meg resolution cell phones, why buy a camera?

Olympus is a leader in the Micro 4/3rds market. Don’t write them off just yet. :wink:

4/3rds is smaller than APS-C, which is smaller than full frame 35, but still substantially bigger than P&S or cell phone sensors.

There are limitations to smaller sensors, regardless of how many MP they have. Maybe not important to casual users, but important to more serious users. On the other hand, there are some fantastic things available to smart phone camera users. It’s not completely one way or the other between all the sensor sizes. YMMV!!! Numerous threads on SDMB.

IMHO, the article is a bit premature.

4/3rds is apparently quite popular* for video, too, having a similarity to Super16 from silver halide filmdom.

Will be interesting to see which companies make successful transitions to the future markets

*if you accept the word of some of the pro-video bloggers I follow


Forget Olympus, the WNBA is in trouble! :eek:

My first camera was an Olympus C40Z, which I thought had amazing features for the time. As a programmer I could tell that much thought had been put in to how to best arrange buttons, features, etc. It was only the slow startup time and short life (on standard AAs) that pushed me to get a new one.

OTOH, I tried to replace it with a Stylus 1010, which had the same attention to detail in buttons and interface, but (shockingly for 2009), didn’t have the ability to detect orientation. At that point I figured something wacky was happening with them, and after I heard about the fraud issues I can only figure that they couldn’t / chose not to buy some basic licensing.

It’s too bad 'cause I understand they made some nice stuff.

The kit in the link sold for $67.75. I don’t want to try to remember how much I paid for my kit (which includes a motor drive). I get that digital has made film obsolete. I get that film is becoming hard to find, at least in different varieties. But it’s sad that people don’t appreciate mechanical cameras. Heck, the only reason the OM-1 (or FM2) needs a battery is for the light meter!

Ralph: I was going to disagree with you, that the other camera makers will go out of business – until I read the bit about the phone cameras. I’ve had the same thought myself. But I think the pros and semi-pros are going to still want SLRs. I’ve taken snaps on my CoolPix, and I’ve taken them on my (not-smart) phone. I prefer looking through a viewfinder.

That was my thought as well. When I was deep in research for a mirrorless camera system I looked long and hard at the Olympus models. At the time the combination of an Olympus micro 4/3 body with a Panasonic lens was considered the cat’s pajamas.

Maybe micro 4/3 isn’t a large enough market to keep them afloat. That’s a shame.

Unclear, the future is. Good imaging devices they are.

Personal anecdote-I still love and use my olf Kodak (4.1 Meg) camera…because of the superb Schneider-Kreuznach lense. I wonder how many lens mfgs. will survive, as the ranks of camera mfgs. shrink?

Some of the old German camera and lens makers sold off their brands names, model names, and/or lens formulas to primarily Asian companies, or set up shop with factories of their own (or partly their own) in Asian countries. Still producing fantastic lenses, too.

For both cameras and lenses, in the 1970s or 80s, Rollie had a Singapore factory, Leitz had Minolta in some sort of partnership both for M (CL) and R cameras and lenses, Zeiss partnered up with Yashica with the rebirth of the Contax brand, etc…