Olympus is changing its name to the OM System. With the announcement, they have told FStoppers that they are also developing a new interchangeable lens Micro Four Thirds camera.
The name change doesn't come as any great surprise since the imaging arm of Olympus was sold to JIP at the start of the year, and there have been rumors abound about a new name. Of course, there will be some disappointment by fans of the loss of the Olympus brand, which has been around for more than 80 years, However, to quote Shakespeare, "A rose by any other name would smell as sweet". Moving the brand forward, and releasing new products, is what photographers will want, and is more important than what the cameras are called.
Saying that, the change to the OM name will please many of the loyal supporters of the brand; the name is a legacy of the classic 35mm SLR cameras of the mid to late 20th Century. The design of those cameras, such as the OM1, is visible in the interchangeable lens digital models produced today.
During the film camera era, we achieved an unprecedented compact, lightweight design with the OM series of 35mm SLR cameras, and the development philosophy emphasizes that design lives on in our new company and brand. Looking to the future, we pledge to establish brand value and growth through building the new OM SYSTEM brand.
OM Digital Solutions
It's not just the cameras that are moving to the new brand, so too will the sound recording devices and binoculars.
There is also the exciting announcement of the new Micro Four Thirds (MFT) camera that's under development.
The model has not been announced, but I make an educated guess that it will not only have one of the two new Sony MFT sensors but also much greater processing power. The inclusion of fast processors in the E-M1 X and the E-M1 Mark III, and the high performance and unique features that they bring, have been a big selling point of the range. Indeed, OM Digital Solutions claim that the OM System will "significantly improve performance and provide an unrivaled photographic experience." So one can expect a product that brings as much excitement as the previous E-M1 versions have.
With the new brand is released a new website, https://www.omsystem.com.
OM Digital Solutions has seen a big internal shake-up since it broke away from Olympus at the start of the year. JIP streamlined the company worldwide, and the inevitable staff losses were needed to cut costs and make the company profitable. At the same time, they have demonstrated that they are committed to the camera range. Since January they have produced a new camera and released the much applauded Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 150-400mm f/4.5 TC1.25X IS PRO Lens, the demand for which took the company by surprise so demand outstripped supply.
This rebranding is no small thing. Although it may just seem like window dressing for some, anybody who has been involved with the introduction of a new brand of a major company knows that it is a big investment, and it's a demonstration by JIP of both a belief in the business, and a desire to move it forward.
Users of the OM-D system, will be overjoyed at the prospect of a new camera. It's a system that is steadily growing in users. As technologies bring about smaller and lighter high-performance cameras, this has huge appeal to many users. Furthermore, the focusing speed and image quality from the Zuiko lenses, a name that s being retained, has always been highly regarded too.
Of course, there will be naysayers who will decry this change — I can already hear them sharpening their knives — but for the photographers that use Olympus and other MFT cameras, this commitment to the future must be a good thing.
I always get a bad feeling when companies spend a lot of money and effort on “rebranding”. Maybe it’s just me, but I think the name “Olympus” was actually an asset and they should have invested in other areas. The money they have spent on brand consultants can’t be used for better products.
I've been through several rebrandings during my life. From a business point of view it is invariably a good move and shows that they are investing in the company.
Good news about a new camera on the way too.
Re-branding won't mean anything without a very aggressive (successful) marketing strategy; OM have excellent product, in a market full of people who are wired to think FF is the quality format.
I also reflect upon Nikon vs Pentax. Nikon sent a huge amount developing the Z system, and they have just taken a quarter of a billion loss. Pentax have decided to build the best DSLR they can.
Time will tell how it works out for OM, but they're a small player, with a niche product, in a rapidly contracting market, and it's going to be difficult for them
Was the best an APS-C body really the best DSLR they could build though?
That's an entirely different question, and I assume a full frame is coming; however, I note the D500 is a stunningly good camera, which has photodiode size about the same as the D850.
The D500 is great and in a universe where Nikon's best lenses were APS-C, it would be their best DSLR. The thing about Pentax is that their best lenses are all full frame so it's odd that they decided to make their flagship an APS-C. You're basically wasting money by paying for more lens than your camera actually uses.
They were probably paying Olympus Corporation to be able to use the name. And Olympus Corporation might not have let them use it over an extended period of time.
All those who have invested in the Olympus system will be relieved.
Wife and are totally invested in M43 and the future does not looks bright. Panasonic has pretty much gone all in on the video craze so for still photography I consider their M43 platform dead.
Sad thing is everyone is investing more into video as the content becomes increasingly throw away.
Olympus was our hope but the track record of JIP is pretty much dismal. If a new camera is released I fully expect it to be a thrown together mash of whatever Olympus had on the shelf; JIP's track record of R&D is basically non-existent.
I'm preparing to move off M43 in a few years when the technology advances the "big boys" are already introducing simply overwhelm the "size and weight" advantages that M43 used to dominate with.
I cannot say I agree with that pessimistic outlook, and there's a lot more to MFT than size and weight. Your assessment of JIP is quite a long way from what market analysts are saying about the company. For example, Vaio is now profit making, and a company concentrating on a niche market, i.e. laptops light enough to carry around, eye-catching like MacBooks, and also able to satisfy heavy-duty use. Also, all the companies taken over by JIP are still running. Furthermore, there is a steady growth in MFT users as they move away from bulky formats.
There is still and always will be a huge difference in system sizes, weight and cost. Compare, for example, the new 150-400 lens with the Canon, Nikon, Sony equivalents. That's the laws of physics coming into play and where MFT has a significant advantage.
We'll have to agree to disagree, and time will tell which of us is right.
Thanks for taking the time to comment.