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Olympus stems losses but PEN sales disappoint

By dpreview staff on Aug 9, 2013 at 20:30 GMT

Olympus has announced reduction in its camera business's losses but PEN sales have fallen behind expectations. The predominantly medical company said PEN sales had fallen 12% in the first quarter, but that it expected the year's income from mirrorless models to be consistent with last year's figure of ¥9bn ($90m). The company blamed the fall on its delay in releasing the E-P5 and said the camera business is on track to break even this financial year.

Meanwhile, as with other manufacturers, compact sales continued to fall but Olympus says its restructuring plan will allow it to 'move to a cost structure suitable for the scale of the business.' The plan includes cancelling development of low-price compacts, launching fewer compact models and closing three factories. The reduced losses this quarter were helped by successfully selling-off the large numbers of compacts the company had already made, at reduced prices.

Source: Reuters

Comments

Total comments: 245
12
justmeMN
By justmeMN (8 months ago)

The linked "Source: Reuters" article is about Nikon. It mentions Olympus PEN sales being down, but doesn't include the other items mentioned in DPR's article.

1 upvote
reginalddwight
By reginalddwight (8 months ago)

Olympus and their MILC counterparts are facing the same strong headwind as smartphone makers. Once a specific market is saturated, it's time to create a new one that will bring sustainable profits.

.

1 upvote
Plastek
By Plastek (8 months ago)

Well, if that's the point where mirrorless market was saturated than this whole CSC bubble was just that - a bubble.

0 upvotes
maljo@inreach.com
By maljo@inreach.com (8 months ago)

A lot of competition in this mirrorless segment. Some of these manufacturers are going to bail. Sounds like Nikon is pulling back first.

2 upvotes
FouSurLaColline
By FouSurLaColline (8 months ago)

How are the other camera makers doing?

0 upvotes
Craig from Nevada
By Craig from Nevada (8 months ago)

The package with the 17mm, VF-4 and EP5 is nice, but on the pricey side. I don't know if people in the US can fully appreciate it. What does an entry level Nikon or Sony go for with a kit lens?

0 upvotes
tgutgu
By tgutgu (8 months ago)

If a company ignores the most wanted feature in its "signature" line (PENs) : the build-in view finder, there shouldn't be any surprise that after four years of waiting the customers go elsewhere.

8 upvotes
Mark Rosen
By Mark Rosen (8 months ago)

They can't keep the EP5 in stock at our local camera store!

1 upvote
Zvonimir Tosic
By Zvonimir Tosic (8 months ago)

If camera makers could find a way to sell their cameras to customers on relatively low monthly plans, for two years, and then automatically sell a new camera to them on a renewed plan — all that organised by third party businesses who promote such cameras for free — they'd have no problems selling them, and would profit. Like smartphone manufacturers do.

And for many, that is the difference between choosing a poor smartphone's camera, and the Pen 5.

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
1 upvote
Marty4650
By Marty4650 (8 months ago)

Zvonimir....

You raise an interesting idea. People think their cell phones are free because they forget that they signed a two year contract to get it... and that contract has them paying $100 a month for service and for the phone.

Could cameras be marketed the same way? You pay $50 a month for two years... then you turn it in for a newer camera and sign a new contract?

I bet those independent cell phone stores would gladly sell camera contracts too... if they could make a commission from each sale.

1 upvote
Impulses
By Impulses (8 months ago)

Well, phones depend on a carrier's service which is the only reason that whole model works (or is tolerated)... And even that market is turning.

For starters, smartphone tech has been developing as if on an accelerated PC industry timeline... Won't be long before people see far less incentive I'm upgrading every year. I'm a huge geek for these things and even then I didn't see much of a point in going from an EVO LTE (HTC One X equivalent) to an HTC One or SGS4 this year, more cores and higher res displays just aren't as juicy an upgrade anymore.

Even if you ignore that whole element, people are waking up to the whole carrier dominance issue... That's why the carriers keep shuffling their plans around, in order to obfuscate and delay their inevitable role as dumb pipes. Every year or so now they come up with a new phone plan gimmick. First it was shared data, which at least made some sense, now it's paying more to upgrade devices more often (a terrible scam).

The point is, just because it's worked for carriers for a couple of years doesn't mean it's a sustainable model or something that should be encouraged or emulated (even sarcastically!).

0 upvotes
Gesture
By Gesture (8 months ago)

The cameras, if we think about it, are quite good. Like our computer, car or Adobe Photoshop, we don't always need a new model each year. To go after less mature markets, you need different price points.

5 upvotes
Biowizard
By Biowizard (8 months ago)

I am STILL waiting patiently (but for how much longer) for an E-7. I just LOVE the original 4/3rds concept and the amazing lenses. Please give me a modern sensor and DSLR body to replace my ageing - but still gorgeous - E-1.

Brian

8 upvotes
sbszine
By sbszine (8 months ago)

There should be a 4/3rds compatible O-MD announced next month.

5 upvotes
lmqch
By lmqch (8 months ago)

I to hope on an new E-x camera, this E-M1 is only an solution on small old 4/3 lens so not can use on an camera only have CDAF.

0 upvotes
WirenL
By WirenL (8 months ago)

I love Oly and have been faithfully using my E-3 until we see either an E-7 or a Pro OM-D..... but I am saving my pennies, if we don't get one by years end, I am contemplating a jump.... don't want to, but if you can't produce a body to fit my needs and your other cams are leaving the market......... you will lose this customer Oly...... I can't be the only one ready to move up or move out!

3 upvotes
Gary Martin
By Gary Martin (8 months ago)

This is an industry-wide problem: not enough enthusiast dollars chasing too much relatively expensive gear. The ILC camera fad is over, and we're destined to be a niche market.

3 upvotes
Richard Murdey
By Richard Murdey (8 months ago)

I wouldn't say it was a fad, as people aren't ditching mirrorless to move back for dSLRs or compacts. It's just that the segment has stabilized/saturated... people who want one already have one and feel little need to upgrade. Rather like the camera market generally, outside of large sensor compacts.

Comment edited 12 seconds after posting
5 upvotes
Gary Martin
By Gary Martin (8 months ago)

ILC means interchangeable lens camera, which includes DSLRs in my argument. By fad I mean all those soccer moms and dads who bought DSLRs (and mirrorless) in the last few years, but probably won't replace them. It was overkill for what they needed, they know that now. We who take photography somewhat seriously are the niche.

3 upvotes
Impulses
By Impulses (8 months ago)

I actually think there's still quite a bit of an untapped market, they're just doing a terrible job of reaching it or advertising their system's advantages...

Maybe I'm just late to the party and my opinion is colored by my own experience. However, as much harm as smartphones did to the compact market, they also raise quite a bit of interest in photography in general, and something that can clearly provide a step up (from a phone cam) often sells even if it's for a premium (see: RX100).

Even Sony's doing a terrible job of articulating NEX's advantages despite their huge retail presence. A lot of people who bought a DSLR a few years ago and never moved past the kit lens would easily revisit their choices and buy into M43 if they were even remotely aware of how versatile some of the lens options are.

Likewise, there's a lot ofpeople that would potentially trade up from a smartphone if they were even remotely aware that there's alternatives in between a phone and a DSLR...

0 upvotes
Mikhail Tal
By Mikhail Tal (8 months ago)

OLY WILL ALWAYS BE THE BEST NO MATTER WHAT

1 upvote
Walsh_uk
By Walsh_uk (8 months ago)

don't be so sentimental, their exec's would pass you by in the street like a full waste litter bin... even with your hard earned Oly hanging from your neck..

9 upvotes
Mikhail Tal
By Mikhail Tal (8 months ago)

You lack the ability to be passionate about a camera brand. I possess it. Simple as that.

1 upvote
Gesture
By Gesture (8 months ago)

There is a certain quest for excellence, love of photography one can follow in the Olympus cameras. The C-XXXX cameras, the E-10 and E-20, moving to 4/3rds, etc. Even a camera like the SP-320/350 aspires to something different than the competition. Some of that flavor in Pentax, but not so well expressed.

The E-10, E-20, in particular, are flat-out amazing cameras for their time.

3 upvotes
BobT3218
By BobT3218 (8 months ago)

In hindsight, Olympus may have been better off continuing on their original push of making 4/3 a truly pro alternative rather than being distracted by m4/3. I fear they are now too far behind in the pro market, except for lenses, and are are being faced with a fizzling of m4/3 as Nikon are finding.

2 upvotes
Andy Crowe
By Andy Crowe (8 months ago)

But the pros never bought into it and their m4/3 cameras seemed to raise their profile considerably compared to their previous DSLRs.

4 upvotes
Richard Murdey
By Richard Murdey (8 months ago)

What possible attraction could a pro 4/3 dSLR offer against the D4 / 1DmkX?

3 upvotes
daddyo
By daddyo (8 months ago)

Gotta disagree. There never was enough incentive or advantage for pros to abandon Canon and Nikon systems and switch to the 4/3 System.

However, the upcoming 'pro' level OMD has the best potential to do just that, if Olympus could do some decent marketing/education.

Most professionals don't need any more IQ than what the E-M5 produces right now. They just need to understand what m4/3's is capable of, and that is the 'big hump' for Oly and Panasonic to get past.

Trust me, most seasoned professionals do not get a thrill out of dragging around huge, heavy camera bags and cases. The small size and much lighter weight of the m4/3 system is a godsend to those of us who have had the sense to switch.:-)

7 upvotes
bobestremera
By bobestremera (8 months ago)

Enter Fuji with a bigger, cleaner sensor than 4/3, great lenses, more dynamic range and the smaller, lighter system you mention.

Comment edited 42 seconds after posting
1 upvote
BobT3218
By BobT3218 (8 months ago)

Richard Murdey, if you have ever used an E-5 with a Zuiko Digital 300mm f2.8, you wouldn't be asking that question.

3 upvotes
BJN
By BJN (8 months ago)

Completely disagree. Four Thirds didn't deliver enough of the compact and lightweight advantage to compete with bigger formats that will always provide better sensor performance. Micro Four Thirds saved Olympus in the short term by delivering more compact system advantages that balance the "good enough" format performance.

0 upvotes
YouDidntDidYou
By YouDidntDidYou (8 months ago)

@BobT3218
There is a lot of itchy feet in the Pro Market at the moment as canikon fail to bring anything new to the table...

1 upvote
Ben O Connor
By Ben O Connor (8 months ago)

PEN series has a serious issue with pricing. Otherwise, evertyhing is cool on my evaluations.

I wished to own a PEN E-P5 for 1000 euros max, with EVF included 17mm, but what they are asking is %50 more !

Man... come on ! Its fabulous camera but, I don´t print my own bank notes!

9 upvotes
Len_Gee
By Len_Gee (8 months ago)

Are you saying Pens are way over
Diced for what they offer?
Oly will have a fire sale in time for Christmas. Big Cameras and lens blow jobs and out the door at 50-60 percent of MSRP just to sell them. Or offer big rebates again.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 8 minutes after posting
1 upvote
The Jacal
By The Jacal (8 months ago)

@Len_Gee:
I'm always on the lookout for a cheap 'lens blow job'.

0 upvotes
BJN
By BJN (8 months ago)

Olympus could do with some inspiration to deliver simpler, more intuitive menu operation.

2 upvotes
Ben O Connor
By Ben O Connor (8 months ago)

Yeah a bit over priced. And over specified! PL5 & PM2 has all the same but screen!!?? And now a bit more advanced PL6 is avaliable just for Japan market.... They did very well to cut of useless compact. To stick with best weather saled best iq enthusiast compact & superzoom. And the sharpest possible pocket p&s... now they should cut PL serie, and make P5 more affordable. Dont even asking for weather sealness or etc.

0 upvotes
timedrun
By timedrun (8 months ago)

M43 new cams, and even more their lenses, are not worth what they ask for them. I just saw that the oly 45mm f1.8, which is in their cheap range, has been "reduced" to $399. That is a skank imo. Samsung sell the exact same spec lens for NX at $199.

10 upvotes
peevee1
By peevee1 (8 months ago)

Actually, you can get the lens new for $350 even from a most reputable seller:
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/971404-REG/olympus_v311030bu000_m_45mm_f1_8_lens.html

"Samsung sell the exact same spec lens for NX at $199."

$250:
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/916134-REG/samsung_ex_s45anb_us_45mm_f1_8_lens.html

But generally true, many Oly lenses are overpriced (except 14-42 and 40-150, $50-75 and $99 with cameras, very good lenses and fantastic values). Mind boggles.

3 upvotes
M Jesper
By M Jesper (8 months ago)

Really? It's €232 over here, including tax. Quite a popular one. Seems like everybody's first lens after the kit.

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
0 upvotes
DPReview Staff
By DPReview Staff (8 months ago)

The 45mm F1.8 is a great lens. As with anything, I'd like to pay less for it, but I've really enjoyed mine, captured excellent images.

4 upvotes
white shadow
By white shadow (8 months ago)

I have an Oly 45mm f/1.8 and it is a great lens for the price. Could have been cheaper but I think Oly just don't have the economies of scale like Canon or Nikon.

They should make more professional grade lenses like the 75mm f/1.8 and selling them at a reasonable price. So far, most of their lenses seems to be made to consumer standards. The latest 17mm f/1.8 is a good example.

Oly should be doing much better than Panasonic as they were in this business longer. They have done it for the classic 4/3 with many excellent lenses.

They are just not getting their act together good enough.

1 upvote
gustabod
By gustabod (8 months ago)

true and while lenses hold their relative value, your $1000 body is worth 300 bucks or less in 12 months time.

0 upvotes
YouDidntDidYou
By YouDidntDidYou (8 months ago)

@timedrun
the more you use a lens the better value it becomes, some of my lenses are on 400,000+ shots....

0 upvotes
Glen Barrington
By Glen Barrington (8 months ago)

The REAL question is when are they going to produce cameras people want to buy?

5 upvotes
Ken Aisin
By Ken Aisin (8 months ago)

They did with the OMD EM5. Just not enough fast lenses for that fabulous body.

11 upvotes
happypoppeye
By happypoppeye (8 months ago)

12 2.0, 14 2.5, 17 1.8, 20 1.7, 45 1.8, 75 1.8, 25 1.4...How many do you want?

Comment edited 12 seconds after posting
14 upvotes
J4Hug
By J4Hug (8 months ago)

a fast 50-200 would be very useful

6 upvotes
Len_Gee
By Len_Gee (8 months ago)

What Oly needs is something like a 300 2.8

5 upvotes
Mario G
By Mario G (8 months ago)

I'd also like a faster (f/1.4) ultra-wide (12mm) prime.

1 upvote
Andy Crowe
By Andy Crowe (8 months ago)

Olympus have a 300 2.8, ok it's a 4/3rds lens but a native m4/3 version would be no smaller, and given the large elements probably wouldn't AF any better either.

2 upvotes
BaroqueMus
By BaroqueMus (8 months ago)

J4Hug, I have the 4/3rds 50-200mm. It's not small, I'll admit, but works very well on my E-PL2.

2 upvotes
Ken Aisin
By Ken Aisin (8 months ago)

Hi happypoppeye, I would expect more F1.4 or faster primes and F2.0 or faster zooms from Olympus and Panasonic.

1 upvote
Ken Aisin
By Ken Aisin (8 months ago)

I would buy two OM-D bodies if Olympus offered more high end m3/4 zoom lenses. Say, 7-12mm F4.0, 12-35mm F2.0, 35-100mm F2.0, all splash proofed.

By the way, the prime lenses at F1.8 are just not fast enough. Cosina already proved that F0.95 lenses don't have to be huge in size.

3 upvotes
peevee1
By peevee1 (8 months ago)

"Say, 7-12mm F4.0"

What stops you from buying 7-14 f/4 Panasonic?

"12-35mm F2.0, 35-100mm F2.0"

Well, hope the next OM-D supports 4/3 lenses much better, as rumored. But if you can live without fast AF, they are supported now.

1 upvote
Ken Aisin
By Ken Aisin (8 months ago)

The panasonic 7-14mm is not splash proof.

3 upvotes
Len_Gee
By Len_Gee (8 months ago)

Is the Oly 9-18?

0 upvotes
Ken Aisin
By Ken Aisin (8 months ago)

Unfortunately the 9-18mm is not sealed either.

2 upvotes
Andy Crowe
By Andy Crowe (8 months ago)

The Cosina lenses are all manual focus tho, you'd need a relatively big focus motor to drive those large elements around in an AF lens.

0 upvotes
Keith Harrison
By Keith Harrison (8 months ago)

I use my 4/3 lenses on m4/3 using the adapter, best of both sizes, my e-3 is waiting for replacement by an e-7

0 upvotes
Ken Aisin
By Ken Aisin (8 months ago)

True, but it is technically possible. I wouldn't mind the increase in size and weight either for the speed though.

0 upvotes
s.seng
By s.seng (8 months ago)

Too expensive

0 upvotes
AbrasiveReducer
By AbrasiveReducer (8 months ago)

The question now is, do they split off the medical from the cameras? About now, there will be people who work with the medical/scientific stuff saying "Our side of the business is good, why do we have to prop up cameras?"

1 upvote
Mario G
By Mario G (8 months ago)

Because the camera side can develop innovative technologies more quickly and easily (and for a little cost in comparison), and once mature enough pass them on to the much more profitable medical side to keep any competitor far behind.

Comment edited 27 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
YouDidntDidYou
By YouDidntDidYou (8 months ago)

troll :(

0 upvotes
Ken Aisin
By Ken Aisin (8 months ago)

Sad to see the most innovative manufacturer (imho) doing so poorly.

Comment edited 16 seconds after posting
1 upvote
peevee1
By peevee1 (8 months ago)

At least it is clear now that their mirrorless business is profitable and has been profitable for at least 5 quarters. Long live standard mount!

Comment edited 21 seconds after posting
1 upvote
what_i_saw
By what_i_saw (8 months ago)

"Olympus stems the losses".

0 upvotes
peevee1
By peevee1 (8 months ago)

"Olympus 1st quarter"... I assume it is their reporting 1st quarter, April to June? E-P5 was already released close to June, but at the funny price which made sure that there were no significant sales.

0 upvotes
SirSeth
By SirSeth (8 months ago)

Well well well. Release an amazing OMD-Pro to replace the E-5 and we'll see if I can help you recover your losses further. ;)

8 upvotes
peevee1
By peevee1 (8 months ago)

11-60/2.8-4, 50-150/2.8, weather sealed and at reasonable prices (think "Sigma", not "Leica"), and I will help out too.

5 upvotes
Ken Aisin
By Ken Aisin (8 months ago)

Such OMD Pro should be fully compatible with old 4/3 lenses to begin with.

If Olympus has no plans to update the E-5 with a new sensor, at least give 4/3 users a new m4/3 camera that would function with all their 4/3 lenses.

4 upvotes
Keith Harrison
By Keith Harrison (8 months ago)

use the adapter

0 upvotes
Total comments: 245
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