Olympus Announces developments and additional thoughts

If you don’t follow Thom Hogan, his insights are great.  He has some good stuff on Bythom.com and Sansmirror.com.  Check out this article on his opinions on the Olympus situation here.

Also, Olympus announced today two new lenses and a potential ship date of the 150-400 Pro.  That lens is finally going to be shipping in the winter.  I can’t wait to try one.  I can’t wait to see what the price will be either.  It will definitely be an exotic lens out there and I’m fairly sure it will retain its value in the aftermarket.  We just won’t be seeing lots of them.

The 8-25mm Pro lens I am very excited about.  F/4…and hopefully small and takes filters.  We don’t know yet…but that is my guess.  And a longer macro lens will be a nature hit.  Long macros just aren’t that common, but definitely desired for the working distance they offer.  The 30 and 60mm macro are stellar, I expect no less from the coming one.

Bird tracking is coming to the EM1X as well.  That should be interesting.  As the plane mode often works decently on birds too.  I wonder what else is in the works.

There is also a webcam tether utility that Olympus released.  OMD Webcam software is available on their support page.  It is still in beta, and it is windows only, and it doesn’t record sound unless you hook up one of their recorders.  Honestly, you can get an HDMI capture dongle and send a clean signal out of the OMD cameras anyways and use it like a webcam.  That works too.  I’m sure their solution is convenient because it uses the existing connection and you don’t need HDMI or a capture device…but no sound and windows only at the moment will definitely be a drawback for some.  Curious to see what the final can do.

 

You know, it’s a shame if Olympus goes down in the long run…what a robust lens lineup we have at the moment.  None of the competitors can really offer the same in mirrorless yet as a whole.

 

Here is the press release text for the releases:

OLYMPUS UNVEILS UPDATED M.ZUIKO® DIGITAL LENS ROADMAP

Provides Updates on the Development of the M.Zuiko Digital ED 150-400 F4.5 TC1.25x IS PRO Lens and Announces the Development of Firmware to Support Bird Subject Detection Autofocus for the OM-D® E-M1X

Center Valley, PA, July 2, 2020 – Olympus is pleased to announce an updated M.Zuiko Digital lens roadmap, outlining plans to expand the M.Zuiko lens lineup and including an update of anticipated availability of the previously announced M.Zuiko Digital ED 150-400mm F4.5 TC1.25x IS PRO super telephoto zoom lens with built-in 1.25x teleconverter.

The upcoming M.Zuiko Digital ED 150-400mm F4.5 TC1.25x IS PRO lens, for which development was announced in January 2019, continues with an estimated scheduled release of winter 2020. This is the first Olympus® interchangeable lens with a built-in 1.25x teleconverter, extending the maximum focal length to 1000mm1 (35mm equivalent). Final images of the lens are now available.

Two new lenses, the M.Zuiko Digital ED 8-25mm F4.0 PRO lens, as well as an unspecified macro lens, will join the M.Zuiko lineup as part of Olympus’ commitment to broaden the field of photographic expression. Olympus will continue enhancing its lens lineup to maximize the unrivaled system portability made possible by the compact, lightweight, high image quality of the Micro Four Thirds® System.

Furthermore, to make super telephoto shooting more convenient and to fulfill the growing needs of birding and wildlife photographers, development is underway to newly add Bird Detection capability to Olympus’ Intelligent Subject Detection Autofocus on the OM-D E-M1X camera. This new feature will be available for the E-M1X via a firmware update that is scheduled for release in Winter 2020.

1 When using the built-in teleconverter. Widest aperture setting is F5.6.

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4 responses on "Olympus Announces developments and additional thoughts"

  1. I agree, but as long as there are spare parts available on I can find repair shops, I intend to stay where I am with equipment. Have the 300 f/4 and the 1.4 tc so Don’t think I will be in the market for the 150-400 unless the price is really good Hopefully I can keep my current setup for another 5 years – using the E-M1 and the mark II.

    Dan

  2. II appreciate your Olympus videos very much and hope that you will be able to pass on your knowledge to us Olympus photographers in the years to come.

    I have long been annoyed by the unfair attacks Tony and Chelsia Northrup are carrying out against Olympus. Most of this is only dirty campaigning. I can’t remember you, ever saying a bad word about Sony, Nikon, Canon, Panasonic, Leica or any other camera manufacturer. Your comments were always about photography and not attacks of hatred against other brands.
    I have therefore written the following commentary on the video “Olympus Quits Cameras (Is there hope?)” by Tony and Chelsea Northrup” on their web page:

    Paulus to
    Tony & Chelsea Northrup hypocritical “crocodile tears”! shame on you!
    Of all international influencers, they (Tony and Chelsea) probable were and still are Olympus “greatest enemies” – and they are powerful, because their Youtube video clips are perceived worldwide (1.4 M subscribers).
    In the United States in particular, their anti-Olympus campaigns have made them a real obstacle for the Olympus Imaging division.
    Tony and Chelsea have always pointed out that their criticism of Olympus only protects consumers from long-standing stranded investment (a hypocritical moral claim?)
    In truth, Tony and Chelsea have disrupted, distorted, obstructed competition and played their part in pushing one of the most innovate camera manufacturers out of the market with their constant attacks on Olympus. In politics, this kind of information distortion runs under dirty campaigning – in civil law, it is damaging to reputation. I am surprised that Olympus did not take any legal action when they published their self-fulfilling prophecy “Olympus will die” over and over again.
    (Would be interesting to bring a class action by Olympus customers against Tony & Chelsea because they have helped to reduce the value of their investments.)
    That doesn’t mean Tony & Chelsea Northrup are the only reason for Olympus’s demise.
    But they caused great uncertainty as opinion leaders and prevented many photographers from getting into the Olympus MFT System and that worldwide!
    They seem to have a bit of a guilty conscience – at least in this clip they regret that Olympus employees are losing their jobs (“hypocritical crocodile tears”).

    The mobile phones are a problem for all camera manufacturers.
    In the future, Olympus OMD and Panasonic Lumix cameras and lenses could be the most likely defenders against mobile phones due to their size and weight.
    Full format will come under even more pressure from the mobile phones in the consumer markets.

    Olympus is currently failing
    – because of the balance sheet scandal – this has weakened Olympus sustainably,
    they have no reserves to survive the greatest economic recession since the Second
    World War with the current losses.
    – Covid-19 Breakdown – nobody wants or can now travel – why a mobile camera system?
    – Serious business management mistakes
    – Video omissions (Panasonic leads)
    – Outdated sensors
    – Lower viewfinder resolutions than the competition
    – Too high prices for the flagship models

    Olympus engineers have developed groundbreaking innovations for the entire camera industry. They are certainly not to blame for the current difficult economic situation.

    Olympus MFT can survive if they act quickly:
    – 47 MP / 8K Sony MFT IMX492 sensor
    – High resolution viewfinder (5 to 6 million dot OLED or equaly mached)
    – Video features like Panasonic (GH5, rumored GH6)
    – Keeping the best image stabilization system (7 stops with dedicated lenses!)
    – Maintaining the outstanding optical quality of the Zuiko PRO lenses
    – Fast market entry of the PRO-Zuiko MFT 150 – 400 mm f 4.5 supertele and very fast
    lenses (bokeh) for a reasonable price – for example 45 mm or 50 mm f 0.85
    – PRO Zuiko 500 mm f 4 – introduction 2021
    – Continue extremely innovative functions other suppliers are missing
    (for example: Fockus Stacking , Focus Bracketing, LiveND-Filters …)
    – Keep their outstanding quality high – for example: best weather sealed and dust
    proofed system, freeze-proof construction and best repair service

    Currently the biggest problem for Olympus is the destroyed trust.
    Olympus has a very loyal customer base – a good fact to overcome the current existential crisis and perhaps even come out stronger.
    However, Olympus’ unprofessional communications policy has damaged customer confidence in the Imaging Division.
    It makes no sense to publish several conflicting press texts within a few months:

    “- Bloomberg: Olympus is being sold.”

    – Reaction to Bloomberg: “Olympus Imaging is so important for the Olympus Group (R&D) that it is certainly not sold. Olympus will launch two to three new cameras and lenses each year.”

    – “Olympus Imaging will be sold to JIP and will no longer build cameras due to the competition of mobile phones and tree years of severe losses.”

    – “Olympus will create a “newcom” with JIP. JIP will have the saying, but will continue to cooperate with Olympus.” (Commentators: JIP can liquidate Olympus Imaging much more cost-effectively and faster than Olympus itself after the spin-off due to Japanese laws.)
    Does this strategy only serve to protect the face – The Asian duty even in defeat?

    – “Olympus is pleased to launch the Pro Zuiko 150-400 mm f 4.5 (1.25 converter 500 mm f 5.6) in fall. In addition, there is an 8-25 mm f.4 Pro Zuiko and software that allows you to use Olympus cameras as webcams. There will a new Pro macro lens (rumored 100 mm) too.”

    Will loyal Olympus fans risk a very expensive investment in the OM E-M1x (“birding” firmware update) and the Pro 150-400 mm tele of several thousand dollars, if they may never get a camera update with a modern sensor, software updates, repair service, … so have to expect a stranded investment?

    This problem Olympus will have to fix first.

    Perhaps you as an successful Olympus Visionary and Ambassador can get some answers from the Olympus Imaging division?

    • Hi Paulus,
      Very interesting thoughts and commentary on this event. Thank you for your comments as well. I have always tried to be fair and unbiased, especially towards other gear. I have used and owned almost every brand out there, and there are lots of cameras I really do enjoy a lot. So to me, it’s a box of crayons. I don’t have to be stuck to one. I won’t criticize one color, just because I like using a different color at the moment. I also don’t have any financial influences on my site, no one donates, no one supports (except for you all, my readership buy buying my presets), and no one offers me any thing for free. I pay for my own website to be up and running, and I buy all my own gear. So, whatever I do say, it’s really just my opinion on my own use. I’ve always tried to be transparent.

      There are a lot of things we would all love to see. I don’t think any specific action or product will change the course or the outcome of Olympus. I don’t think there is a magical camera that will save the brand the way the M9 brought Leica back from the dead. I remember that day on 9-9-2009. Leica’s world changed overnight it seemed. I think a camera to do that for Olympus would have to be something no one saw coming with functionality that truly changed the way people managed their images and made other cameras seem old. Instantly. I don’t expect that unfortunately. I also know that we haven’t sold yet, and reality at the end of the day changes based on circumstances of the times. Who knows where all factors will be when the rubber meets the road so to speak. I think 2021/2022 will be very interesting years to watch for Olympus. We aren’t out yet. I’m not trying to be hopeful either, but as a business there just might be some worth in what Olympus cameras is capable of that keeps them alive. If costs can be managed, and the right products can be developed, we might just see some form of continuing entity. Time will tell.

  3. Give MFT a second chance!

    Bigger is not always better!
    Size doesn’t matter – its all about getting the best images!
    Leave the current looser-image behind!

    Change the meaning of MFT = Micro Four Thirds
    for marketing reasons to
    MFT = MOBILE FAST TRUSTY

    In this case, Olympus or JIP (or both together) would not even have to relabel the existing cameras and lenses.

    Good luck!
    Paulus

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