Olympus is selling their imaging business. Japan Industrial Partners is the company that will run the Olympus camera division.
JIP is the same company that acquired the VAIO computer division from Sony.
Olympus communicated the news of exiting the camera business through a press release, explaining that they decided to sell despite trying to cope with the losses faced in the last three years. They listed amongst the causes the digital camera market crisis due to “rapid market shrink caused by the evolution of smartphones“.
At the end of 2019, the rumor of Olympus shutting down their doors spread like wildfire on the Internet but Olympus denied officially with a statement that they were going to quit cameras.
Until the end of 2020 Olympus will still support the existing camera and lens owners, then it will be JIP to also provide support to existing Olympus customers.
What YouTubers Say
In the video, Tony & Chelsea Northrup talk about the breaking news and explore some of the potential future outcomes and what this all means for Olympus customers, for the Micro Four Thirds format, and for photography lovers in general.
Tony had talked about the possibility of Olympus shutting the doors of their camera division in 2018 and back then I wrote a response to the “prediction” in my blog post “Is Micro Four Thirds Dead?“.
Other points discussed in the video, which I recommend watching if you haven’t already:
- First of all, they are NOT happy about Olympus quitting cameras
- Who’s JIP?
- What JIP made of the VAIO PC department bought from Sony in 2014 and what they could do this time with Olympus cameras
- A bit of history of Olympus cameras and how they revolutionized the camera industry with their interchangeable lens mirrorless format
- Will Olympus cameras survive?
- The resell value of your gear doesn’t seem to go down if your camera company exits the game
- Hopes. Should a tech company buy the company and keep innovating?
Find the Official Memorandum of Understanding for Divestiture of Imaging Business by Olympus here.
You can find Japan Industral Parners (JIP) website here.
I agree with Tony and Chelsea when they say that if you are a photographer, you can be a photographer with any camera brand.
I’m obviously sorry for Olympus and for what this means for all the people working in the Olympus Digital Imaging section.
I still think that if we weren’t in the middle of a global pandemic, facing a huge economic recession – or depression? – Olympus could have made it to keep their camera department alive. In 2020, the company released the OM-D E-M1 Mark III camera and a new lens on their PRO line, the 12-45mm f/4. So who knows…
Are you an Olympus camera owner? What’s your plan now? Are you planning to sell your gear and buy a new camera system or will you keep your M43 equipment?