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Olympus to axe V-series point-and-shoot cameras

By dpreview staff on May 16, 2013 at 17:10 GMT

According to a report in the Wall Street Journal, Olympus is to cease production of its cheapest V-series point-and-shoot compact digital cameras. This follows a financial report this week which showed a group net profit of 8.02 billion Yen in 2012, driven by the company's medical instrument business, but a loss of 23.07 billion yen for its imaging business. In response, according to the WSJ, the company has slashed its sales targets for compact cameras from 5.1 million units in 2012 to 2.7 million for the current business year. 

Olympus is to cease production of its V-series compact cameras - a range of cheap point-and-shoot models which includes the sub-$100 VG-160.

Olympus's V-series compact cameras are priced under $200, but despite their low cost, Olympus (and every other camera manufacturer) has struggled to sell them in the face of ever stiffer competition from smartphones and tablets at the bottom of the market. Rather than slug it out at the entry-level, Olympus is focusing on higher-end compacts and its growing range of mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras, including the 16MP E-P5, announced just last week.

via Imaging Resource

Comments

Total comments: 133
Anepo
By Anepo (11 months ago)

I am happy that Olympus listened to my suggestions in a long and lengthy email I sent, I just hope things work out for the better.

0 upvotes
R Thornton
By R Thornton (11 months ago)

Like with other manufacturers, the reason they are going down now is not the technology but marketing. Olympus are going out of their ways to avoid competing, and instead, they are inventing tricks to defend their price points using "new" products as an excuse. In the process, they are not producing anything spectacular, and spectacular is what it takes to live on right now. What some call the "global crisis" is actually just real life...

0 upvotes
Kewee
By Kewee (11 months ago)

Smartphones have been having a negative impact on this end of the market for some time now.
Photography grew dramatically with the advent of digital technology. What we are seeing now is the contraction of the hobbie as those that were never much interested in photography drift away to their smartphones leaving the original enthusiast base to continue with their genuine interest in photography as a hobbie. Of course the market will contract and adjust but its heart will retain its strength.
I don't think i could find anything more meaningless to read than your comments. Everything you've said is pure rubbish.

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
0 upvotes
RichRMA
By RichRMA (11 months ago)

Cheap point and shoots seem to exist for the sole purpose of taking up shelf space at Walmart and Best Buy. Advertising, such as it is.

0 upvotes
Mahmoud Mousef
By Mahmoud Mousef (11 months ago)

Soak in the bargains while the getting's good.

Soon most manufacturers will be thinning their compact camera line-ups out and those that are around will resemble thin phones :)

I already see some action in this area. Manufacturers now think that by making their cameras look and act like phones, they can rescue lowered sales performance.

0 upvotes
SLove
By SLove (11 months ago)

The ultracompacts are not a new phenomenon. For example the main selling point of folded optics cameras has been the thinness for some time now. Unfortunately you still can't get to modern smartphone kind of slimness even with folded optics.

0 upvotes
Mahmoud Mousef
By Mahmoud Mousef (11 months ago)

Yes, ultracompacts are not new, I'm just seeing more 'phoneness' in some models. Maybe it's just me, but some models omitting hardware controls, touch screens of course being 'standard' and resembling phone shapes more....and viewfinders long gone in nearly all models and GUIs drawing influence from phones more than the past.

0 upvotes
Ben O Connor
By Ben O Connor (11 months ago)

A great first step. Now the next steps:

- Refresh your prices on Stylus department. (XZ-2 is almost more expensive then E-PM2)
-Commercialise XZ-2 , XZ-10 and SZ models.
-Work more on Point&Shoot&Share model of devices.
-Have a further parthnership with secondary photosharing web pages (as flickr, not with instagram etc... they are so "ordinary")

And work hard, Olympus. WE LOVE YOU !

(fellow XZ-1 user)

0 upvotes
justmeMN
By justmeMN (11 months ago)

According to Olympus, their digital camera sales went from 293,566 (Millions of Yen) in fiscal 2008, to 115,237 (Millions of Yen) in fiscal 2012. That's quite a plunge.

0 upvotes
Craig from Nevada
By Craig from Nevada (11 months ago)

They had to stop the bleeding. Other makers will follow their example. The definition of camera is very different and point and shoot is just redundant.

0 upvotes
rhlpetrus
By rhlpetrus (11 months ago)

Compacts down, same for ML cameras (2012/2011), things don't look pretty for most camera makers. Nikon and Canon are surviving, but it looks like almost everything else may just disappear in just a few years. Maybe Oly's medical business will keep a small camera department, but I doubt it. It'll be smartphones/small pads and enthusiasts' camera maket only. There is still a very large population in the world w/o access to a good camera, that's why that will stay, mostly good stills/video hybrids and better still cameras. I see Canon coming with a partnership for smartphones soon, as should Nikon as well.

Comment edited 59 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
88SAL
By 88SAL (11 months ago)

You will never kill the dedicated camera. People who dont see the value in a dedicated camera dont deserve one. When they are tired of squinting at thumbnails on their phones and have a real look at their images and start asking questions about why they are no good, that will drive interest back into real cameras. Like any market - expect highs and lows

1 upvote
vladimir vanek
By vladimir vanek (11 months ago)

That's good news I'd say. Olympus should focus on "prosumer" compact cameras, such as XZ series, and above. The overcrowded sub-200$ camera market is nothing interesting...

1 upvote
Nathebeach
By Nathebeach (11 months ago)

Smart move. As cell phone camera quaity approaches and surpasses some compacts, camera makers have to boost quality to give people a reason to spend hard earned money on a "second camera" (the cell being the first).

I am not talking about the pro-sumers and enthusiasts. I am talking about the target audience of people buying their first camera. Camera makers need to capitalize on that market. If they don't, they may end up like Kodak.

2 upvotes
SLove
By SLove (11 months ago)

To be fair, cell phone camera quality in general still does not surpass even the cheap compacts. Quite the contrary in fact; my four year old cheap Canon A1000 IS still beats my Sony Xperia acro S at ISO 100-200. At higher ISOs they are about equal. There are some marginally better camera phones than the acro S, but still from pure image quality criteria even cheap compacts are still superior to most high end camera phones (the only notable exceptions are the Nokia N8 and 808 with their much larger sensors).

However, image quality is not the important thing here. For many of the casual photographers camera phones are "good enough" and they have much superior convenience for sharing, whether it's social networks, plain old email or even MMS (which is popular in some countries).

0 upvotes
marike6
By marike6 (11 months ago)

To get a cell phone camera that is even competitive with the cheapest P&S, you have to purchase a $600 Nokia 808 PureView.

Flash photography is another feature that is far superior on even the cheapest P&S and indeed it's only the very best camera phones (read expensive) that even have built-in flashes.

0 upvotes
rhlpetrus
By rhlpetrus (11 months ago)

Most people are not worried by that difference. Enthusiasts are a small fraction of camera and phone buyers.

0 upvotes
Marty4650
By Marty4650 (11 months ago)

@ SLove...

I really don't think image quality plays a big part in this movement to smartphones as the camera of choice for casual snapshooters.

As you say.... the smartphone image quality is good enough for these shooters (and lets be honest here... they represent around HALF the potential camera market).

What is driving the move to smartphones is purely convenience. No matter how good a camera might be, it can't me more convenient to carry two devices rather than carrying one.

I was in Best Buy a few weeks ago and saw a poster for Nikon that stressed the advantages of a superzoom camera over a smartphone. The tag line was "Can your smartphone do this?" and I think Nikon is using the right approach. They need to sell what they CAN do that a smartphone can't do rather than trying to reclaim the bottom of the market.

1 upvote
Nathebeach
By Nathebeach (11 months ago)

You guys are all proving my point. Olympus, along with all the others, need to get first time buyers. If they don't they will cease to exist. It is specifically because the cell phone users do not care much about quality (as much as your average pixel peeping enthusiast - that would be YOU), that the camera companies have to make changes to draw them in. It is kind of hard to have a repeat customer if you do not have a first time customer. I hope that this move by Olympus is only the beginning of a strategy to be successful, and not merely a way to stop the bleeding. Canon has a good idea with that camera, I am too lazy to look it up, that the WSJ featured. It was designed specifically to steal business from cell users. Someone less lazy than me please look up the name of the camera and post.

0 upvotes
SLove
By SLove (11 months ago)

I suppose it would have been the Powershot N, which has WiFi, uploading to social media and a companion smartphone app. It's also pretty small but still has an 8x zoom. It's an interesting idea that might work. At least it makes more sense to me than the Samsung Galaxy Camera, which is basically a travel zoom with Android and excessive price tag.

0 upvotes
Nathebeach
By Nathebeach (11 months ago)

Yes, that is the one. I guess it has not caught on. At least credit Canon for trying.

0 upvotes
peevee1
By peevee1 (11 months ago)

"To be fair, cell phone camera quality in general still does not surpass even the cheap compacts. Quite the contrary in fact; my four year old cheap Canon A1000 IS still beats my Sony Xperia acro S at ISO 100-200. At higher ISOs they are about equal."

But with f/2.0 lenses, they will reach those high ISOs later than the cheap compacts with lenses starting from f/3.5. Hence, beating.

0 upvotes
Nathebeach
By Nathebeach (11 months ago)

and I am willing to bet that four year old camera was not your first.

0 upvotes
kgreggain
By kgreggain (11 months ago)

Olympus needs to smarten up (as do many camera manufacturers) and drop their bottom end line - it is a lost leader.

I also think without a new sensor change / lineup and an slr line is going to seriously dampen Olympus's chances at sustaining a market.

They have serious awareness in the micro 4/3 line - but this sensor is still old, still with the highest crop factor.

The E5 (their last slr) was not much of an improvement over the E-3.

I need a new sensor and even the possibility of Olympus Full frame to maintain my allegiance to Olympus - I currently have a wealth of high end Olympus Lenses sitting in a box because my E3 gave up the ghost. There is no way I'm going to pay over 1400 for an E5 - the tech in it is too old, and now to even resell their lenses is difficult - even though Olympus makes great glass.

Time will tell, but Olympus seems to be making a good move here by dropping their crap, but I still need to see more to regain confidence.

0 upvotes
bobbarber
By bobbarber (11 months ago)

It probably makes no business sense to say this, but I've thought for a while that Olympus should start manufacturing DSLRs again.

The complaint was that the sensors didn't measure up, but the situation has changed. The EM-5 has a great sensor (is the EM-5 sensor too old too?) that competes favorably with most APS-C sensors. I would welcome a DSLR built around the EM-5 sensor.

As I say though, it probably makes no business sense. It would be a great DSLR, but everybody else makes great DSLRs these days too. They might not sell enough units to justify R&D.

0 upvotes
Marty4650
By Marty4650 (11 months ago)

The low end Olympus P&S cameras should have been axed years ago.

Even if their sales numbers weren't declining, they weren't offering anything better (or more often, not as good as) Canon and Panasonic does in this category. So declining sales are the final straw, and they had to go.

Right now, Olympus needs to retrench and trim their imaging division down to only three lines.... those things they do best:

- M4/3 cameras and lenses
- XZ enthusiast cameras
- Tough weather proof cameras

Everything else should go. Not just the cheap P&S cameras, but the travel zooms and superzooms too. If they can't excel at a category, then they should just avoid it, and let someone else who can do it better have what's left of the declining niche.

2 upvotes
SLove
By SLove (11 months ago)

Super/travelzooms probably have higher profit margins than cheap P&S. They share mostly the same electronics and small 1/2.33" sensors (=dirt cheap today), but have more expensive optics. However, they are still priced a good deal higher also, so my estimation is that the profit margins are higher for them. The relatively small glass (even for superzooms) that the small sensors need is not that much more costly to make.

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
1 upvote
Frugaltraveler
By Frugaltraveler (11 months ago)

they should focus on BETTER BUILT QUALITY! They call the OM-D E-M5 a high end mu43 camera, yet its plagued with Quality problems. (dials falling off, cracked LCD bezel, shutter stuck the list goes on...) Move production back to Japan and get HIGHLY trained engineers build their cameras not low wage on the job trained workers and then rake in HUGE profits.

1 upvote
Revenant
By Revenant (11 months ago)

The E-M5 is one of the better built mirrorless cameras, and the problems you mentioned aren't widely reported. Cameras of all brands occasionally have problems like those, and the few people who are unlucky enough to get flawed units are usually very vocal about it, whereas the vast majority of people who never have any problems, usually don't go online to tell others about it. They just enjoy their cameras instead.

Btw, do you think any camera manufacturer have engineers assembling their cameras? Engineers design and develop cameras, they don't manufacture them.

1 upvote
String
By String (11 months ago)

A few people have reported a cracked bezel (Oly listed the serial numbers for a recall) an I've read 2 people who had issues with dials. That's it. Compared to the Nikon (D800/D600) and Canon (1D) fiasco's, I'd say Oly's QQ is much better.

4 upvotes
Peter Bendheim
By Peter Bendheim (11 months ago)

The OM-D is a beautifully built camera, unlike the plastic appliances that Nikon and Canon produce below the pro level (of course their pro level cameras are fantastically made) A few issues on a few cameras does not indicate a widespread or general issue.

Comment edited 32 seconds after posting
1 upvote
DavidAlexanderWillis
By DavidAlexanderWillis (11 months ago)

According to the article it was 5.1-million units, not 5.7-million.

1 upvote
ManuelVilardeMacedo
By ManuelVilardeMacedo (11 months ago)

I don't mind if Olympus axes their basic compact cameras. They are probably OEM products rebadged 'Olympus' (at least part of them). Such products don't really add to the brand's prestige and their manufacturing has probably become a burden - especially now that everyone who takes snapshots uses a smartphone. A logical move.
Olympus had better concentrate on micro 4/3 and not forget the demand for new bodies from those who have large collections of 4/3 glass. They should face that they can't compete with the big names and specialize in what they do best, even if that turns them into a niche brand. By doing so they'll acquire more prestige than they would if they kept offering crappy point and shoots that nobody is willing to buy anymore.
But then there are non-photographic issues. Downsizing will mean contributing to the unemployment figures and the corporation's image hasn't the best reputation right now. A sizeable hurdle. As an Olympus user, I hope they can solve their problems.

Comment edited 48 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
jkoch2
By jkoch2 (11 months ago)

Could traditional aviation survive, if people discovered they could fly using their phones, and airlines had to ditch economy class and sell only first class tickets? Perhaps. But only with fewer flights, smaller planes, and higher ticket prices. Leica is a sort of "First Class Only" in the camera world, and the prices reflect where the rest of the industry might have to migrate.

0 upvotes
ManuelVilardeMacedo
By ManuelVilardeMacedo (11 months ago)

Cameras, aeroplanes and mobile phones... Silliest comparison ever!

Comment edited 29 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
peevee1
By peevee1 (11 months ago)

"Could traditional aviation survive, if people discovered they could fly using their phones, and airlines had to ditch economy class and sell only first class tickets? Perhaps. But only with fewer flights, smaller planes, and higher ticket prices. Leica is a sort of "First Class Only" in the camera world,"

If camera companies were airlines, Leica would be an old steamboat. :)

0 upvotes
peevee1
By peevee1 (11 months ago)

I understand the VG-160 etc, not use. But, say, VR-340, 10x 24-240mm optical zoom in the package just of 125g, with stabilization, and all under $100. Smartphones cannot do that yet, although shows what is possible.

0 upvotes
ijustloveshooting
By ijustloveshooting (11 months ago)

i was extremely satisfied with oly xz-1 and it was the camera i've used the longest time...Oly is producing very good cameras and i'm sad to hear that they're in trouble with sales.

4 upvotes
fibonacci1618
By fibonacci1618 (11 months ago)

It's a pity they are struggling, but the writing's been on the wall for sometime now viz. compact cams. They've done very well & should focus on higher-end cameras, such as their XZ-series, Tough TG-series, E-Pens, OM-D, and 4/3 cams, + lenses. Looking at their higher-end cameras, Oly has actually done very well with best-in-class models virtually all the way. They don't need the budget range models to compete, & shd channel resources to tweaking, refining & continuing to lead in their higher end models.

Sadly, the reality may be that the 4/3 line is very likely not going to survive despite what many hope for. If Oly develops the OM-D pro & releases equivalents of the best HG & SHG lenses for m4/3, there would be little reason to continue the 4/3 line. It would further boost the m4/3 line, serving the lower, mid, high-end and pro range all at once, and save them a lot of R&D costs.

Imagine if Oly released a m4/3 SHG 12-35mm f/2, 35-100mm f/2 and 12-60mm f/2.8-4 this or next year..

0 upvotes
Marty4650
By Marty4650 (11 months ago)

If Oly released a M4/3 12-35mm f/2 and a 35-100mm f/2, it would create a loss for both Olympus and Panasonic.

There simply aren't enough customers for $1,000 MILC lenses for two manufacturers to be making very similar lenses. Lower volumes would lead to higher costs, and even higher retail prices, so the whole concept is fiscal suicide.

Olympus and Panasonic have been very careful NOT to duplicate their high end M4/3 lenses for that very reason. Please notice... there is no Olympus 7-14mm lens. Panasonic will not build a 12mm f/2.0. Now that Olympus has a 75mm f/1.8, Panasonic will not build one. When Panasonic releases their 150mm f/2.8 that will prevent Olympus from cluttering the market with their own version.

Of course, they will always duplicate their cheapest and highest volume lenses. But not their $1000+ offerings.

Comment edited 59 seconds after posting
2 upvotes
fibonacci1618
By fibonacci1618 (11 months ago)

Agree that Oly & Panny rarely duplicate their higher-end lenses, which is why I pointed out that these are their HG & SHG lenses catering more to the pro & semi-pro segment, esp. the f/2 & other wide-aperture telephoto zooms. But, there isn't exactly an overlap with these offerings in m4/3 presently, and in fact neither in APS-C or FF formats too.

I think there are 3 possible outcomes right now:

(1) Keep both 4/3 and m4/3 lines, with the added expenses and competition between both lines;
(2) End 4/3 with no carry-over production of the best HG/SHG lenses in m4/3 format, but possibly offering a true 4/3-->m4/3 lens adapter;
(3) End 4/3 line, but offer the best of HG/SHG lenses in m4/3 format.

I think it is also telling that neither Oly nor Panny have made any new offerings for 4/3 in the last 3+ years, whilst both have been prolific in their m4/3 range.

I hope I'm wrong and 4/3 lives on...

0 upvotes
zodiacfml
By zodiacfml (11 months ago)

I'm not surprised. Companies have milked the bottom end for too long without innovation and fought through it by lowering prices and just left it there. This story is not far from the serious compacts such as Canon's S, Panny LX, or Olympus' XZ. I don't find the point of having manual controls on a compact with image quality close to a cheap compact.

Or maybe, these companies left these compacts unloved to force people to buy on bigger and more expensive cameras for better image quality.

I don't know how much sales/profit Sony gets from the RX100 but it sure does get some love from consumers.

0 upvotes
peevee1
By peevee1 (11 months ago)

Image quality of LX7 and XZ-2 is not that close to cheap compacts, the difference (compared to, say, the VG-160 in the article, taking both sensor and lens in consideration) is from 2.5 stops on short end to 3.5 stops on the long end. Basically, you can do something in lower light (maybe not spectacular but good enough for computer screen) than daylight or you cannot.

1 upvote
Kirppu
By Kirppu (11 months ago)

Who buys these cheap cameras anymore?
Image quality is on par or even below what smart phones can serve. Also smartphones has neat edit and sharing features that never reachead cheap compact market. So basicly market it is on a point where smartphones are making these kind of cameras useless.

This my opinion and guess why they will stop selling these cheap imaging machines. :)

1 upvote
zodiacfml
By zodiacfml (11 months ago)

Ok, I was a bit exaggerating and I love the LX and XZ but these are serious cameras and a larger sensor is already possible for these two. It's just that the makers chose to delay them. Now, with the low prices of the Panny LX despite impressive specifications, many people share my sentiments.

@Kirppu It's amazing, people still buy these cameras with 16MP where the image quality sucks so much even at reduced sizes. To me, they have image quality similar to webcams. The IQ on the latest smartphones are far better. There is no value anymore on these supposedly dedicated imaging devices.

0 upvotes
AbrasiveReducer
By AbrasiveReducer (11 months ago)

As always, medical/scientific equipment to the rescue (the lack of which being what makes Nikon so vulnerable despite strong camera sales). But it's hard to see a path for Olympus. Low-end compact cameras are obviously a commodity and a phone is good enough for many. At the high end, Olympus, Pentax, Minolta used to be the poor man's Nikon or Canon but realistically, there's no D600 from any of these guys. That leaves the expensive, medium-sized camera segment which is pretty crowded.

1 upvote
peevee1
By peevee1 (11 months ago)

Sales of D600 are minuscule compares to APS-C DSLRs, where Canon eats almost all the cookies.
http://i1266.photobucket.com/albums/jj524/picrumors/Bildschirmfoto2013-05-04um115727_zpsb7ac273e.png

1 upvote
iae aa eia
By iae aa eia (11 months ago)

No wonder this is happening. 'Weak' compacts (for such a brand name).

0 upvotes
fmian
By fmian (11 months ago)

Lets face it, serious camera users and knowledgeable professionals don't buy Olympus anymore. They used to, with the four thirds lineup, and Olympus all but ditched that to start making inferior toy cameras with the pen range. It took years of minor updates and cameras made for the dumb masses that just look 'cute' next to an SLR, before they got to the OMD stage. And even the OMD is only half the camera that the top end four thirds body ever was, and they still can't design it to fit and control in the hand properly.
Now Olympus has to pay professionals to go around telling people to buy their gear to generate false word of mouth.
They used to be well regarded with their compact cameras that felt good in the hand, but now, save for a few models, most of their point and shoots seem cheap and plasticky.
Olympus has put themselves in this position by alienating their users.
Lumix is a higher regarded and more asked for name than Olympus, and Lumix isn't even the name of the company.

11 upvotes
The Jacal
By The Jacal (11 months ago)

You should start a thread with this on the Micro Four Thirds forum. Go on, dare you....

8 upvotes
Ross the Fidller
By Ross the Fidller (11 months ago)

To fmian. What a pathetic ignorant bias you have!

Comment edited 44 seconds after posting
8 upvotes
fmian
By fmian (11 months ago)

Mr Fidler,
Tell that to the scores of people who had to sell off their high end FT lenses because Olympus stopped being serious about making bodies.
Also tell it to those that held on to their lenses with hope, bought the OMD, then had Olympus turn around a few months after launch and announce that it couldn't AF those high end lenses as well as the older E-5. Even though Olympus claim the OMD is the pinnacle of their AF technology.
If being aware of a company doing this is what you call ignorance and biased, then you need a dictionary.

1 upvote
Gryfster
By Gryfster (11 months ago)

Don't you think you are being a bit harsh? The E-5 came out in late 2010-early 2011. It's a good camera. Olympus has publicly stated that they are bringing out a professional 4/3 camera (or micro 4/3 with improved 4/3 lens support) this fall.

The Canon 7d came out about the same time. The Nikon 7100 was just released a couple of months ago. These are the main competitors. If you are going to start complaining about how 5D Mark 3 or D600 were released last year then you are losing credibility. They are completely different category; no 4/3 camera is gong to have the same shooting or DOF characteristics as FF.

If you had serious SHG glass and sold it 6 months too early then I feel bad for you and happy for the O shooter who got a real bargain (glass is 4ever).

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
4 upvotes
Mr.NoFlash
By Mr.NoFlash (11 months ago)

No many pro's go mirrorless, but most of those which go mirrorless, go m43, and half of those go OMD. Its is easy to find 10 Pro's in the m43 talk forum, but not at Nex, Sony (Nex) has no good lens lineup and no fast AF ( and those 2 parameters are even worse at canon M and I dont see Pro's who use nikon-1 ). OK then there is Fuji and samsung, but those have a general smaller mirrorless market share ( but bigger P&S market share ). I agree that the buttons on the OMD are small, everything is a compromise, perhaps Oly makes bigger buttons in a future version. Mirrorless has a big future because the mirror is not necessary anymore to get good pictures ( except for sports ).

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 6 minutes after posting
2 upvotes
Frugaltraveler
By Frugaltraveler (11 months ago)

well spoken!

0 upvotes
Thorgrem
By Thorgrem (11 months ago)

Let's face it. More and more serious camera users and knowledgeable professionals are switching to Olympus since the E-M5. It's only the beginning of the new.

Yes, they have lost a few serious camera users and knowledgeable professionals with the lack of support for the 4/3 system. But let's face it, 4/3 wasn't up to the task to compete with Canikon in the long term (just like Sony and Pentax, the marketshare wasn't profitable enough). Aldo it offers some great Zuiko lenses, it wasn't small and the sensors where always a generation behind.

So they lost a few costumers but gained far more. And are still gaining. The new generation of photographers who aren't heavily invested in Canikon will have an alternative. I understand that Canikon users aren't very happy with alternatives.

Comment edited 39 seconds after posting
1 upvote
historianx
By historianx (11 months ago)

What Oly should do is develop and release a bridge s/z similar to the Pannie FZ200 but with a 1" or 4/3 sensor and some sorta sweet 25-600 or higher constant 2.8 Zuiko Digital lens. Take that, Panny AND Leica.

3 upvotes
Mario G
By Mario G (11 months ago)

That's just fantasy! Look how a 28-280mm equiv. on micro 4/3 is big and heavy already, how you expect a 25-600mm to be? And how expensive it is a constant f/2.8 on a tiny 24-70mm eq. range... how could one covering the FZ200 sort of zoom range could possibly be?

0 upvotes
starwolfy
By starwolfy (11 months ago)

What Leica has to do with that ?
Ah right, they are expensive so the inquisition want them to burned.

0 upvotes
trekkeruss
By trekkeruss (11 months ago)

Like Mario, fantasy. The sensor and lens combination you suggest would be huge, and not cheap, to the point that most would probably just buy a DSLR.

0 upvotes
peevee1
By peevee1 (11 months ago)

With 1", not such a fantasy. Look how small the RX100 is. Surely there is plenty of weight/size budget for longer range zoom in a bridge form factor. Not constant f/2.8 to 600mm of course, but easily f/2-f/4 22-200 eq, which would be AWESOME.

0 upvotes
SLove
By SLove (11 months ago)

On the other hand, look how HUGE the Fujifilm X-S1 is. It has a longer zoom (24-634mm) than you are suggesting, but on the other hand it has "only" a 2/3" sensor and f/2.8-f/5.6. This suggest to me that the only way you could do a manageable superzoom with a 1" sensor and fast lens would be to go for something like a 16x zoom, MAX, and still it would not be small.

0 upvotes
jkoch2
By jkoch2 (11 months ago)

Are people are asking Oly to make something like a Nikon 1? Why immitate something which Nikon, despite some sales volume, is probably not making any profit on?

0 upvotes
Treeshade
By Treeshade (11 months ago)

Look at an Oly 75-300mm lens on m4/3. It is f/4.8-6.7. While it is possible to make long-range small lens with bigger sensor, it is quite unlikely to have a large aperture.

0 upvotes
peevee1
By peevee1 (11 months ago)

"That's just fantasy! Look how a 28-280mm equiv. on micro 4/3 is big and heavy already"

New Panny 14-140/3.5-5.6 is not that big and heavy, integrate it in a fixed-lens camera and it will come well under weight of Fuji X-S1.

0 upvotes
peevee1
By peevee1 (11 months ago)

"This suggest to me that the only way you could do a manageable superzoom with a 1" sensor and fast lens would be to go for something like a 16x zoom, MAX, and still it would not be small."

If it is fast only on the wide end (where it is needed most for non-sport-shooters), it could still be small. Look at RX100. There is a LOOONG way from there before it becomes too big and heavy.

0 upvotes
thx1138
By thx1138 (11 months ago)

Here's a tip Olympus, be the first manufacturer to make a high quality water proof camera, with superior optics and RAW output and you'll take that segment of the market over. The IQ of the tough series is third rate.

3 upvotes
OniMirage
By OniMirage (11 months ago)

Third rate compared to what? In the category the Tough camera is in Olympus is one of the best offerings after all features and capabilities are considered.

4 upvotes
historianx
By historianx (11 months ago)

what ^ said.

0 upvotes
thx1138
By thx1138 (11 months ago)

Third rate compared to most real cameras. Just because it's competitive with the rest of the garbage in that segment doesn't means it's any good. IQ out of water is woeful, so there's not much hope when it's wet.

4 upvotes
Combatmedic870
By Combatmedic870 (11 months ago)

Yep a waterproof XZ-2 would rock!

1 upvote
cgarrard
By cgarrard (11 months ago)

I totally agree. There are holes in the market begging to be filled and I keep wondering when the hell a manufacturer is going to see the holes and fill them. They all seem so slow to take those advantages.

0 upvotes
teddyilagan
By teddyilagan (11 months ago)

@thx1138: and make the lens 24-240mm then it's the best all around camera I think.

0 upvotes
peevee1
By peevee1 (11 months ago)

"Here's a tip Olympus, be the first manufacturer to make a high quality water proof camera"

They were the first manufacturer to make a highest-quality-by-far water proof camera last year, which still has just one competitor.

0 upvotes
PaulSnowcat
By PaulSnowcat (11 months ago)

Let's face it... Nobody needs THAT large amount of camera models as we have now... Really... The number of models can be easily truncated to a 1/4 of what market is filled with now. And nobody needs that frequent updates of all those models. A firm that will realize that will cut her losses greatly. Yes, I think net sales will go a bit down too, but net income will surely rise.

That crazy race should end for the sake of everyone!

11 upvotes
LensBeginner
By LensBeginner (11 months ago)

I think Pentax is doing an excellent job re this issue.
A few compact models, some (three?) rugged compacts, a bridge (X-5), an enthusiast-oriented quality compact (MX-1) and then the DSLRs.

Simple yet varied line-up, each sector covers specific needs.

6 upvotes
Richard Franiec
By Richard Franiec (11 months ago)

New compact camera to become a sales success story must offer much more than smartphones are. It is quite amusing that camera manufacturers sat on their laurels for so long losing money which could otherwise be better spent on R&D.
Sony with their RX100 is clearly a trendsetter here being at the same time a nail to the coffin for all the "affordable" compacts as we used to know them.
Inventions and breaking new grounds is the only way to survive. There is no longer room for small, incremental improvements like in case of Canon S90-S110 serie. Olympus story could be a wake up call for others (hopefully).

6 upvotes
Gesture
By Gesture (11 months ago)

Good idea. So should a few others. The traction for Olympus is in Micro 4/3rds and all-weather cameras. Wish more had joined the Micro 4/3rds consortium.

4 upvotes
historianx
By historianx (11 months ago)

Many did, some dropped. like Sigma. I would love to see some fast Sigma primes for 4/3

1 upvote
peevee1
By peevee1 (11 months ago)

Who said they dropped? They just released 3 lenses for that mount (A-series 19, 30 and 60).

2 upvotes
InTheMist
By InTheMist (11 months ago)

I hope they don't cancel the Tough series. Those are great compacts.

Comment edited 12 seconds after posting
3 upvotes
win39
By win39 (11 months ago)

Olympus has been an occasionally innovative company with interesting ideas, but has never been run well even going back to the film days when they ignored autofocus and raised their prices comparing themselves to Leica. Upgrades came in decades so seldom got reviewed. They dumped all that and went for years without product to develop their first digital SLRs. The recent announcement that they are dumping their DSLR customers formalizing the reality of the last several years is history repeating itself while a newcomer like Sony surges ahead. This is just another segment being abandoned by Olympus.

6 upvotes
Revenant
By Revenant (11 months ago)

According to some recent rumours, Sony will stop producing SLTs, and develop a mirrorless solution for the A mount. How is that any different from Olympus' development of a mirrorless solution for Four Thirds?

2 upvotes
historianx
By historianx (11 months ago)

sorry win39 but I don't feel "dumped" by O, they've taken very good care of me over the last 4 decades. And please post a link to this "recent announcement" that we are, in fact, being "dumped."

3 upvotes
peevee1
By peevee1 (11 months ago)

"The recent announcement that they are dumping their DSLR customers"

Where did you get this? All rumors say a new E-series will be released this year.

1 upvote
happypoppeye
By happypoppeye (11 months ago)

Die Olympus, die :)

...sorry, had to.

0 upvotes
pdelux
By pdelux (11 months ago)

No one should want olympus to die. They have been one of the more innovative camera makers in recent years.

Live view, 5 Axis stabilisation, Dust buster..

6 upvotes
RichRMA
By RichRMA (11 months ago)

P&S cameras have been losing money for most brands for the last few years. Be a shame to see them disappear, but phones killed them.

3 upvotes
Ben O Connor
By Ben O Connor (11 months ago)

Now I see why there are so many "great deals !!! buy now !!!" promotions on olympus cams here.
Its a very good decision. They should make "worth to carry with" cameras for these very beginners, mothers, teens etc.

Connectable devices are also would atract the customers. Now they should saddle down for a year or half, and refine the

" PSS = Point & Shoot & Share! "

2 upvotes
PhotoHawk
By PhotoHawk (11 months ago)

Lets see now - the camera division lost 23B Yen - that's about $230M dollars (1 dollar = 100 yen) So if they stop making low end P&S cameras they still won't stem the loss. They may pare it down by about $20-25M but not outright eliminate it. And that savings is predicated on losses of $10 for every PS camera they eliminated assuming that loss on average for the 2.4M cameras they will take from their forecast (5.1M to 2.7M units).
So clearly they will need to do something else. And they already have made some fairly severe cuts. And they have already curtailed R&D dollars to the Imaging Division.
Unfortunately without some surprising products, something that will disrupt the market, Olympus's imaging division may be another future Kodak story.

2 upvotes
bobbarber
By bobbarber (11 months ago)

You might be right. Still, more people know of Olympus cameras than Olympus medical equipment, so from the standpoint of brand recognition Olympus may be tempted to stick with the imaging part of the business as long as they can. Who knows? Olympus may get some sales of medical equipment because certain people with their hands on the pursestrings at hospitals use Olympus cameras.

I think Kodak was different. They didn't have any profitable sectors in the end.

1 upvote
rainphotog
By rainphotog (11 months ago)

Brand recognition applies only within the appropriate market. If you don't buy medical imaging equipment, you wouldn't know about Olympus in that way.

Also, I would think that a good way to end up looking for a new job would be to buy big ticket major medical equipment based on using/liking that company's camera line. I would look to suitability for purpose, acquisition cost and lifecycle costs if I wanted to keep my job buying/approving major medical equipment.

1 upvote
bobbarber
By bobbarber (11 months ago)

Maybe, rainphotog, but I at least don't live in a world where people do things the way they're supposed to. If that were the case, then there would be little need for salesmen, as people would coldly calculate what was in their best interest, based on specs, consumer reports, etc. I think you're underestimating the prestige that cameras and lenses bring to Olympus. Olympus lenses have been known as some of the finest lenses in the world for decades, and I think that does help the company with brand recognition and prestige in a general way, outside of the very specific camera market itself.

If Nikon, for example, decided to start making cars, they would have a leg up on brand recognition compared to a start-up car company, despite the fact that cars have nothing to do with cameras. That would get Nikon some sales. I don't see how it could be any other way.

1 upvote
peevee1
By peevee1 (11 months ago)

PhotoHawk, your calculations are completely arbitrary. Nobody loses "$10 on every camera", you invest, say, $10M in new camera development and tooling (including overhead costs) and then sell cameras with some margin, if the number of cameras sold is big enough, you start showing the profit. For my example, if your margin is $10 and you sold a million of them, you are breaking even, if you sold just half a million, you just lost $5M. And that is what happened. And you basically have no space to lower price to generate more sales because margins are already so thin.

1 upvote
Kirppu
By Kirppu (11 months ago)

Joint venture with samsung to make OMC = OlympusMobileCamera :) -> (I don't think Samsung would care)

0 upvotes
PhotoHawk
By PhotoHawk (11 months ago)

peevee1 - my figures are a guess. I admit that. But what they were intended to show is that the merely saying that they will stop the V Series and cut some more production will not stem the loss from the camera division. Not even close.
There is a word for this strategy - its called market sector retreat and if you do enough of it your critical mass disappears. Olympus already has this problem arguably and we see it in many areas. This retreat here may make the ability to generate a going concern worse, not better, unless this strategy is accompanied by something other than retreat.

0 upvotes
DLBlack
By DLBlack (11 months ago)

It is sad news that Olympus is dumping their p&s cameras. Still for most people the smartphone/table photos are good enough and their is no need to carry multiple devices if one is good enough.

I keep hearing that P&S cameras was where the big profits were. So with P&S cameras gone then the price of high-end cameras are going to have to go up some.

The day is near that cameras and phone/tables are going to work together. It has started with wifi connectivity in cameras. The Canon N, which is extremely small has wifi might be useful if one wants a little better than a smartphone/tablet but not interchangeable lens camera. A ruggedize sprt camera with WIFI coul be userful to. Panasonic has a ruggedize sport camer with wifi. So there is a place for a P&S camera but it is not your regular p&s camera. It has been replace by the smartphone/tablet.

1 upvote
Richard Butler
By Richard Butler (11 months ago)

I'd check your source about P&S being where the big profits were - I don't think that's been the case for a long time.

4 upvotes
SLove
By SLove (11 months ago)

Not since sub-$200 P&S became commonplace. The competition in that segment was intense even before smartphones became a major competitor, which inevitable meant smaller profit margins. Everybody and their cat & dog is in that market; not just the major brands, but also regional "recycled" brands like Praktika and Rollei in Germany, which sell mostly rebranded OEM-designs.

2 upvotes
Gesture
By Gesture (11 months ago)

So many places I go, few carry cameras, a lot of photos being taken with phones-from modest ones to the better phones with apps.

0 upvotes
PenFan2011
By PenFan2011 (11 months ago)

Though this is more in addition to your comment; I also wonder how different these cameras really are. I really can't shake the idea all these companies are buying from a third party, slapping their name on the front and their software on the screen, and call it their own. Last year's tough camera looks like this year's nikon waterproof model. I think the real lesson is they are no longer blowing money on manufacturing these POS P&S cameras at all, saving money. I can't fault them for slimming down their business to what sells, and eliminating what does not.

0 upvotes
historianx
By historianx (11 months ago)

the Samsung Galaxy Camera was the first death-blow. refine on that and the folding optics and there goes the sub-$200 P&S market.

BTW my first digital cam was a 2001-tech Olympus Stylus with a 3.2MP sensor. That cam took some beautiful pictures.

0 upvotes
SLove
By SLove (11 months ago)

I don't think you can make such a long zoom easily with folding optics. They seem to have something like 5x zooms at the most, and of course folding optics are a big compromise quality-wise.

0 upvotes
justmeMN
By justmeMN (11 months ago)

Can Olympus' high-end cameras generate enough profit to make their camera division viable? I doubt it, but time will tell.

0 upvotes
SLove
By SLove (11 months ago)

They are not (yet) deleting the mid-range P&S cameras and superzooms, namely the S-series or the T-series ruggedized cameras. They even just extended the "enthusiast" ZX-series to the mid-range with the smaller sensor ZX-10.

3 upvotes
devlin2427
By devlin2427 (11 months ago)

Olympus should've gone the Apple/Leica way a long time ago: very few high quality products priced at the limit of affordability/snobbism.

Trying to compete with giants with giants like Canon and Sony in the lower end of the market was going to be troublesome. I'm still surprised Fuji, Pentax and Samsung haven't abandoned this bracket.

1 upvote
marike6
By marike6 (11 months ago)

Giants like Canon and Sony at the lower end? Nikon was about the only company that made a profit last quarter, and that was on the strength of it's compact camera division.

Sony seems to be having almost as many problems as Olympus, so I'm not sure "giant" is the word I would have chosen.

0 upvotes
peevee1
By peevee1 (11 months ago)

marike6, Sony and Canon are basically the only ones who sell any P&S, the other sales are just blip, including Nikon. If Nikon camera division made any profit, it is from D800/D600/D7200/D5200/D3200/Nikon 1 and maybe bridge cams, not from sub-$100 P&S Olympus is eliminating here.

0 upvotes
SirSeth
By SirSeth (11 months ago)

I doubt they are doing very well with their D7200 yet. ;)

0 upvotes
SLove
By SLove (11 months ago)

Like I have said before, I don't think low end P&S will be totally replaced by smartphones as long as the latter don't have optical zooms. While the effect of smartphones on low end P&S sales is undeniable, the P&S market is also well saturated by this point. In other words, most people who can afford one already have a P&S with at least 10 MP sensor and they see very little reason to upgrade. In addition, a large part of the traditional camera market, namely Europe, is still suffering from varying degrees of economic hardship. This is the another reason for slower P&S sales that is often ignored by people who predict that smartphones will totally take over casual photography.

1 upvote
al_in_philly
By al_in_philly (11 months ago)

The writing has been on the wall a long time now regarding P&S sales for everyone. It's a shame when you think how far those little cheap cameras have come. But if you're only going to post your pictures on Facebook, or send to your Aunt Mildred in Idaho via e-mail, it simply doesn't make sense to carry around a second photographic tool when your phone already has one built into it.

2 upvotes
Sad Joe
By Sad Joe (11 months ago)

Another sign of the times guys....only a matter of time before us camera loving folk walking around with our DSLR's look as silly as photographers of old having to hid under a sheet to take images on their large plate cameras.....

5 upvotes
ManuelVilardeMacedo
By ManuelVilardeMacedo (11 months ago)

Well, come to Europe some time. You'll find lots of young people shooting with film cameras and attending development workshops in Paris, London or Berlin. Not everyone is a gadget freak; some want to know the essence of photography.
Don't worry about carrying your DSLR. You'll only look silly if you keep making comments like this one... (g)

Comment edited 7 minutes after posting
2 upvotes
meland
By meland (11 months ago)

How many do you regard as lots? Unfortunately the numbers of young people attending development workshops is a drop in the ocean compared with the numbers required to keep companies like Olympus in business.

2 upvotes
ManuelVilardeMacedo
By ManuelVilardeMacedo (11 months ago)

Good photographers were always a drop in the ocean.

3 upvotes
Henry M. Hertz
By Henry M. Hertz (11 months ago)

olympus.... you would think with all the OM-D praise they are able to make a dollar or two.

with the huge loss in the imagine sector i would not be suprised when they stop making cameras one day.
at one point shareholders won´t accept that cameras ruin the results.

same for panasonic...

Comment edited 14 minutes after posting
4 upvotes
Just Having Fun
By Just Having Fun (11 months ago)

P&S sales (and losses) dwarf higher end camera sales.

2 upvotes
ManuelVilardeMacedo
By ManuelVilardeMacedo (11 months ago)

Yes, getting rid of the lossy part of business is such a bad idea, amirite?

1 upvote
Henry M. Hertz
By Henry M. Hertz (11 months ago)

it´s such a clever idea that they might expand it to all camera sales.

0 upvotes
ManuelVilardeMacedo
By ManuelVilardeMacedo (11 months ago)

Don't worry, that won't happen.

0 upvotes
meland
By meland (11 months ago)

I admire your confidence but .............

0 upvotes
meland
By meland (11 months ago)

Having a well regarded camera like the OMD doesn't necessarily translate into good profits. While this camera has been reasonably successful in a small niche, it is expensive for the mass market and its volume compared with entry level DSLRs from Canon and Nikon is tiny.

0 upvotes
ManuelVilardeMacedo
By ManuelVilardeMacedo (11 months ago)

Leica makes a living out of niche products and no one asks whether it's in risk of someone shutting their doors. Olympus has the backup of a very lucrative business, so it can afford to go 'niche'.

0 upvotes
meland
By meland (11 months ago)

Yes but unfortunately Olympus can not currently command Leica prices.

0 upvotes
scrup
By scrup (11 months ago)

When the quality is not better than a current smartphone. Why would you buy a compact. Just leave it for one or two players to slug it out in this area.

Why doesn't any of these big players compete in the go pro market?

That's a growing sector and they have the manufacturing processes to make it.

Make a tiny lightweight wireless weatherproof camera module that can be controlled by a smartphone.

4 upvotes
meland
By meland (11 months ago)

Now that is a very sensible question! Sony have had a go but it doesn't appear to be selling that well and GoPro really have the market to themselves. Canon, Nikon, etc., should probably get involved but GoPros are so cheap that I'm not sure the established camera companies consider that they could make any profit at it, even if they did enter the market.

1 upvote
tkbslc
By tkbslc (11 months ago)

I can't see why any company would continue to make low end cameras at this point. If you are the kind of person interesting in a short zoom, sub $150 camera, you probably are fine with your phone.

1 upvote
RichRMA
By RichRMA (11 months ago)

People looking for good images, instead of spending $150 on a P&S will seek out a 4-5 year old used DSLR with a kit lens instead. Unless of course portable "grab" shots are the need in which case a phone is fine.

1 upvote
Tomskyair
By Tomskyair (11 months ago)

It'll be interesting to watch how much the smartphones are going to cannibalize the P&S market in the near future.

My prediction is: pretty much totally up into the mid-range segment as technology advances further and results of an average smartphone and an average P&S will become almost indistinguishable from each other in 98% of shooting situations.

Comment edited 42 seconds after posting
1 upvote
historianx
By historianx (11 months ago)

I think this will be part of larger trend wherein companies will get rid of all the low end P&Ss mostly due to advances in camera phone tech. In a few years the only P&Ss will be the higher-end bridges and environmentally sealed cams.

1 upvote
Just Having Fun
By Just Having Fun (11 months ago)

Smart move. P&S is a money losing sector. Others won't mind selling at a loss to keep name recognition, and Olympus can't compete that way.

2 upvotes
marike6
By marike6 (11 months ago)

P&S is not a money losing sector for all camera companies, just some.

1 upvote
peevee1
By peevee1 (11 months ago)

marike6, and who get profit selling them? Margins on them always were thin, and now everybody reports drastic fall in their sales (meaning the fixed costs of their development are shared between fewer bodies, leading to losses) - see Canon statement for example too.
Although when Olympus and a few others exit the market, there will be a little more breathing room there.

1 upvote
Total comments: 133