Olympus, one of the world’s most respected and established camera brands, has decided to call it quits. In a press release posted today, the company revealed that it would be signing its imaging division and brands (e.g., Zuiko, OM-D) over to a separate entity, Japan Industrial Partners, Inc. (JIP), by September 30, 2020. Not surprisingly, the decision stems from the depressing state of the digital-camera market – most folks these days just use their smartphones for photography.
“Olympus has implemented measures to cope with the extremely severe digital camera market, due to, amongst others, rapid market shrink caused by the evolution of smartphones; Olympus has improved the cost structure by restructuring the manufacturing bases and focusing on high-value-added interchangeable lenses, aiming to rectify the earning structure to those that may continue generating profit even as sales dwindles,” the company wrote. “Despite all such efforts, Olympus’s Imaging business recorded operating losses for 3 consecutive fiscal years up to the term ended in March 2020.”
“Under such circumstances, Olympus considers that, by carving-out the Imaging business and by operating the business with JIP, the Imaging business’s corporate structure may become more compact, efficient and agile and it is the most appropriate way to realize its self-sustainable and continuous growth and to bring values to the users of our products as well as our employees working in the Imaging business. Olympus therefore has decided to sign the memorandum of understanding for the Transaction.”
The good news is that there are plenty of other camera giants left standing, such as Nikon, Canon, Sony, and Fujifilm. All of these companies offer mirrorless models, which are a good compromise for those who want the quality of DSLR, but without most of the weight.