The internet is awash with debate about the health of the Olympus camera division, with many predicting the imminent death of their micro 4/3 system, and many predicting Olympus will march on. It does appear they are losing money, and logically they can’t continue to do that indefinitely. It appears that the world is moving on to full-frame sensors and sales are down even in the APS-C market. This has reminded me of my Olympus experience.
I bought my Olympus E-620 camera in 2011. That was while the company was still making DSLRs with 4/3 sensors – before their mirrorless micro-4/3 cameras. I have fond memories of my Oly E-620. It was a very capable and well-designed camera. And pictures from it still hold up today. My processing of some of them. . . well, less so. But the RAW files themselves can still deliver what is needed for quality pictures. I had received an Olympus E-420 for Christmas in, I believe, 2010. That was a 10 megapixel camera and was outshown by the E-620 by an additional 2 million pixels and by, more importantly, it’s in camera image stabilization. The 620 also featured an articulating screen which is handy but not indispensable.
The Zuiko lenses for the Oly DSLRs were good to excellent. Certainly they were good enough for the megapixels of the day. I eventually had a good number, from the excellent 14-54mm lens and 9-18mm lens, to the optically excellent but cheap 40-150mm zoom. That covers the gamut from 18mm to 300mm in full-frame equivalent. Plus I had the 25mm pancake. Today I look back on pictures I made with this system and wonder why I sold it. Partly I moved on for the promise of better pictures from larger sensors, and partly because it was a dead system – Olympus released no more DSLRs after 2010. Of course, being a dead system is what allowed me to buy into the system for a reasonable price.
I found the system quite versatile, producing “pretty” pictures with it.
As well as more documentary pictures.
I even took engagement pictures of my daugher and future son-in-law.
I suppose most today would turn up their noses at the camera’s 12 megapixel, smallish sensor, and at it’s dynamic range and noise and aggressive anti-aliasing filter. I can’t say much as I sold mine in 2013 based on those very concerns. Well, mostly the dynamic range and noise as I still think 12 megapixels is probably as much as we need most of the time unless we are making huge enlargements. But sometimes I wonder if I was too hasty in walking away.
Back to the current financial troubles of Olympus. I don’t know how that will wash out, but I know the company has a history of embracing, and walking away. They did with film cameras in 2002. They did it with their 4/3 system in 2010. So if they are indeed losing money, I have no doubt they will do it again. And then likely reinvent themselves again.