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My current thoughts on Olympus Cameras?

My Olympus EM10ii
June 29th, 2020

If you have watched my vlogs, then you’ll know that I’m an avid Olympus user currently using an Olympus OMD EM1ii as my weapon of choice. This week has been particularly worrying for any Olympus owner after all the news of Olympus selling its camera business to a company called JIP. I thought I would pen my personal thoughts on my future with the Olympus brand.

I have been an Olympus user for just over 2 years having purchased a EM10ii, which was a camera I loved. It was light, intuitive and such a delight to use. It even pushed me into selling my Canon gear and upgrading to a EM1ii. A decision I have never looked back on. If you have been in the Olympus system or the Micro Four Thirds world over the last 6 months, you’ll no doubt read about the rumours of the impending demise of the Micro Four Thirds system.

I’ll be honest if you look at Micro Four Thirds on paper and compare them to other systems such as APS-C and Full Frame, you’ll probably find that Micro Four Thirds lack in many ways. Yes, it’s a system that has some compromises but some of its faults are easily overcome and more than make up for the comfort and ease as use. I have penned my thoughts for using Micro Four Thirds if you want to read further.

My thoughts on the sale of Olympus.

Now my thoughts on the sale of Olympus. Do I think this is the end? No, I actually think that this could be a good thing. The new company that will own Olympus cameras are a company that are well known for taking unprofitable companies, and making them profitable. Sony sold its VAIO line in 2014 to this company and are still making computers today. This gives me hope.

Many large companies have divisions or subsidiaries which are separate parts of the company. The imaging division was just one part of a company that also includes medical equipment. A company often takes assets from an unprofitable part of the company and focus its resources on more profitable part of the company. When a company goes out on its own, it no longer has this burden of having to make profits as part of a bigger company. This can often allow the company to do what it does best. Only time will tell if this happens at when the Camera part of Olympus is sold. I have high hopes.

What does this mean for me?

I thought hard about this. Will this make me sell all my Olympus Gear and switch systems. At the moment, No. My EM1ii still works and is getting updates. There are still a good selection of Lenses and Accessories. I also expect that there will be many more of these to come in the future. If the new company doesn’t work and they close operations, then there will still be a great second hand market, in the future. Let’s face it, I can still buy kit for some of my 40 year old film camera’s.

What do I hope to see from Olympus in the future?

I’d love to see some better updates to new models. The recent EM5 and EM1 releases have been a little underwhelming. The tech is largely the same as the predecessors. The recent EM1iii has been referred to as a EM1x in a smaller body. I’d also love to see more affordable pro lenses. I could pick up a very good 70-200 L series lens for my old Canon for around £200-£300 albeit an older model, some of the Olympus model can be over a £1000 a pop.

I’d also love a higher resolution Micro Four sensor with better low light capability, or if they could fit a full frame sensor in the body of the current EM1. I’d buy it in an instant. My biggest decision for choosing Micro Four Thirds is weight, and if I could have a Full Frame camera in the same size and weight as a current micro four thirds camera, you’d find me first in line.

Yes, its a worrying time for all Olympus users but I’m really optimistic, and my EM1 will still take the images I want to take for years to come. We’ll wait and see what the future brings.

2 comments on “My current thoughts on Olympus Cameras?”

  • Posted by Graham Thompson

    Well written blog Mike. I agree with what you are saying but I can see many people jumping ship from Olympus now. I also agree that the upgrades have been a little lacklustre. If you remember, I bought the lowest in the range, the EM10 MkIII. Although I have no real complaints about the camera, in fact for what I got it for, it fitted the bill for me perfectly.

    If I knew when I bought the camera what I know now however, I would have bought the EM10 Mk II as you used to have. Mainly because I do like to have a little more flexibility in the camera I use and one of the ‘improvements’ on the MKIII was to take away a lot of control. Less customisation means that although the Mk III can shoot video at 4K, which it does very well, there is no manual settings at all in video mode. This is great for anyone using the camera much as they would a phone, it is very limiting should the user want to ‘up their game’ and take control.

    I have also started to do more wildlife/nature photography and I bought the excellent 75 – 300 (150 – 600 full frame equivalent) for just under £400. OK, it isn’t the fastest lens out there but a quarter of the price of the 300mm Pro lens. However, good as the image quality is, the Olympus autofocus system, especially in continuous mode, is sadly lacking to the point of continuous AF on the EM10 Mk III being useless and unusable. Birds in flight is almost impossible with this camera.

    Don’t get me wrong, I don’t feel that I was sold a pup with this camera, I love it to bits. I didn’t buy it with wildlife photography in mind. I bought it to use as a general purpose camera and it has excelled at that. I have to add that this is exactly how the camera was advertised so I knew what I was buying but I didn’t know at the time that my needs would change beyond the cameras ability and purpose.

    If I was in the market for an upgrade now, which I am not, I would not buy any of the Olympus range as it stands as I am not that sure if they would be great at wildlife. I would have to consider a Lumix body to enable me to keep my lenses or consider buying a dedicated wildlife camera, Nikon or Canon but unless I win the Lottery, that will not be happening. Sadly, the value of second hand Olympus cameras will now hit the deck and my low end system will be virtually worthless on the market irrespective of how good it is.

    I have to be realistic though in that I am a true hobbyists who enjoys the camera I have and am happy with the images I am getting. I don’t print big and I don’t sell images so what I get are OK for me

    Like you, I have no regrets in getting my Olympus. In fact I have gone further with it as a system than I have with any digital SLR system in that I have now got 4 Olympus lenses and one none Olympus lens. I only had two lenses when I was using Nikon and the same when I used Sony so that shows how much I love this camera and how much I like using it.

    • Posted by Mike Chesworth

      It great to see others who have the same feeling for me and its great to see that you’re enjoying the camera. I have been considering the 70-300mm lens as I own the 40-150 and it doesn’t quite have the reach that I need. Having 600mm reach will be great for my photography. Yes I have found the autofocus to be a bit hit and miss, most of my subjects don’t move that quickly though. 😉 I’d think I’d jump to a Lumix if I couldn’t use an Olympus, but I still think there is life in Olympus yet. You seemed to have found that some of the negatives that are regularly spoken about Micro Four thirds aren’t there if you know how to work the camera. It’s great to see the passion you have for the system, which I share. Thanks for taking the time to read and comment. It’s much appreciated.

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