Olympus financial situation - is this bad news?

Discussion in 'Micro Four Thirds Forum' started by soundimageplus, May 17, 2011.

  1. soundimageplus

    soundimageplus SC Top Veteran S.C. Charter Member

    578
    Jul 6, 2010
    43 Rumors | Blog | Olympus terrible financial results. Time to change something! (POLL: your suggestions)

    43rumors reports another bad year for the Olympus imaging division with sales and market share falling despite an increase in camera sales worldwide. So is this bad news?

    Yes its another of those problems with Olympus threads! Does the fact that Olympus are primarily an optical company and not a division of a huge electronics corporation have an effect on this? While realising that this is not a Bloomberg channel website, it does strike me that yet another specialist optical and camera company may be in trouble. We've seen Pentax slip away over the years to become almost marginal and the swallowing up of Minolta. Is this another?

    So in the spirit of helpfulness (is that a word?) lets all chip in with some free advice so that we can "save" one of our favourite companies. Your suggestions please on what Olympus can do to produce products that stun the world and restore them to former glories.

    I'll start off with my suggestion.

    GET A BETTER SENSOR FOR YOUR M4/3 CAMERAS!!!
     
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  2. BBW

    BBW Administrator Emeritus S.C. Charter Member

    Jul 7, 2010
    betwixt and between
    Real Name:
    BB
    Pick up on the aperture ring, shutter speed and EV dials that the X100 folks have employed.
     
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  3. olli

    olli Super Moderator Emeritus

    Sep 28, 2010
    Metro Manila
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    olli
    Sell their photography division its people and intellectual rights to Panasonic and Panny keep it as a separate brand.
     
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  4. arpoador

    arpoador SC Regular S.C. Charter Member

    I'd paraphrase it: Pick up on the aperture ring, shutter speed and EV dials that your OM-2 and OM-4 employed.
     
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  5. pictor

    pictor SC All-Pro S.C. Charter Member

    Jul 14, 2010
    Their marketing needs an improvement. They already have good strengths but they don't know how to market their strengths appropriately.
     
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  6. soundimageplus

    soundimageplus SC Top Veteran S.C. Charter Member

    578
    Jul 6, 2010
    Sounds like a great idea to me.
     
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  7. BBW

    BBW Administrator Emeritus S.C. Charter Member

    Jul 7, 2010
    betwixt and between
    Real Name:
    BB
    That's probably a good solution, financially. I just have a thing for the Olympus name...due to OM-1 nostalgia...and I do like their colors, too. Could we make sure Panasonic didn't "brand" the cameras all over, please???
     
  8. Djarum

    Djarum SC All-Pro S.C. Charter Member Subscribing Member

    Jul 10, 2010
    Huntsville, AL
    Real Name:
    Jason
    I don't think the 12mp sensor is all that bad. I also don't think it is a reason or a significant reason why they aren't selling cameras. The GH2 sensor is marginally better, and it is still not up to APSC level. I think chasing the better sensor is not going to fix anything. We are talking about Olympus imaging as a whole, not just m43.

    If we are talking about m43, in general, I think the E-PL2 satisfies most of the "better than compact" masses. I think they do need a pro-pen with super quick AF and possibly an intergrated EVF, but not with the size of the Panny G series. They also need lenses.

    As far as compact cameras go, they probably should just reduce the line they sell. Marketing wise, they can't keep up with Canon, Sony, Nikon, Sammy, or Panny in this regard. Most people younger than 35 have no idea of who or what Olympus is. Everyone else makes cell phones, tvs, mp3 players..etc. They make good electronics so they must make good compact cameras. Or they make good dSLRs for professionals so they must make good point and shoot compact cameras. Olympus does neither.

    If they want to be profitable, they need to strip down the number of models they offer. Put features on cameras that can sell that others don't have.
     
  9. pictor

    pictor SC All-Pro S.C. Charter Member

    Jul 14, 2010
    When Voigtländer was bought by Zeiss, Voigtländer was the only German company having an SLR short before completion which would have been able to compete with the Japanese SLRs. Zeiss had its own SLR, which was much inferior to what Voigtländer was working on. In order to prevent competition for their own SLR, Zeiss stopped the Voigtländer branded SLR. Today there is not even one German camera company left which is able to compete with the Japanese. There is just Leica which has finally found a niche to survive for a while.

    That's one of the reasons why I really hope, that, if the imaging division of Olympus were sold, a company would buy it, which has the interest and ability to strengthen its position and to bring Olympus back to Mount Olympus. The best thing were, if Olympus would to that by itself.
     
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  10. pictor

    pictor SC All-Pro S.C. Charter Member

    Jul 14, 2010
    No camera company makes its profit with pro cameras and Olympus is no exception.

    They have done that. But that alone is insufficient, they have to market their strengths better.
     
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  11. Grant

    Grant SC Veteran

    249
    Nov 12, 2010
    Lunenburg Nova Scotia
    While I like Olympus and almost ended up with one for me their problem is one of confusion. I wanted a µ43 camera but at that time Olympus seemed to have four very similar cameras E-PL1, E-PL2, E-P1 and E-P2 and Panasonic had the GF1. I couldn’t get my head around which one was was which in the Olympus line up, and I generally don’t think I am stupid. To me they were simply competing against themselves for the same share of the market. If they had had only one line it would have brought both their research and production cost down and made it easier for the consumer to make a decision.
     
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  12. Armanius

    Armanius Bring Jack back!

    Jan 11, 2011
    Houston, Texas
    Real Name:
    Jack
    Stop "dumbing" down cameras and simply make the ultimate photographer's camera!!

    Oly needs to understand that its brand is not going to appeal to the general camera user masses that gravitate towards Canon and Nikon (and sometimes Sony). Oly needs to truly target the enthusiast and pro's that want smaller/lighter super high grade stuff. For example, instead of an EPL2 (which appears to be even less sturdy than the EPL1), Oly should have made the EP3 with a built-in EVF, style it like a RF, use the weaker AA filter sensor of the EPL2, keep dual dials, and use a better LCD like the XZ1. Most of us would have likely been willing to pay $1000+ for it.

    Oly needs to look at the success of the X100 and play on that particular segment of the market. Accept the fact that you are not going to outsell a Rebel.
     
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  13. usayit

    usayit SC Regular

    113
    Sep 4, 2010
    So much focus on the camera (albeit room from improvement in that arena).... consolidate offerings (low cost manufacture and marketing) and focus more on GLASS!!!!

    A camera doesn't make the system... its the melding of optics and camera offerings.

    Look at the big players... their offerings are deeply rooted in optics with cameras coming and going.
     
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  14. olli

    olli Super Moderator Emeritus

    Sep 28, 2010
    Metro Manila
    Real Name:
    olli
    BB I think Panasonic if they were to seriously consider acquiring Olympus would be smart enough to acquire it as a separate business, that is, buy over the imaging side of the company and reach some deal with Olympus over maintaining the brand identity for the Panasonic owned imaging element. Then Panasonic can add their electronics expertise and financial muscle to Olympus.

    Apart from anything else it would be good for Panasonic to maintain the pretence that M43 is an open multi-company format.

    When Sony took over Minolta they ended up doing neither one thing nor the other. The Minolta name disappeared but the Alpha branding which was part of Minolta's identity in Japan was retained. Outside Japan though Minolta effectively disappeared. The company's photographic DNA was evident in the first Sony Alphas but more recently these are clearly Sony products. It was a shame that the Minolta name disappeared.

    Pentax are another company that could do with a sugar daddy to prevent them dwindling to a niche business. Hoya is a big business but Pentax isn't an obvious fit with the overall Hoya business. Trouble is, there aren't that many big electronics companies left that are in the camera business. Once upon a time Samsung might have been a possibility but I think this time has passed.
     
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  15. Djarum

    Djarum SC All-Pro S.C. Charter Member Subscribing Member

    Jul 10, 2010
    Huntsville, AL
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    Jason
    Not disagreeing a bit. Marketing for them has not been great, especially not here in the US.
     
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  16. Andrewteee

    Andrewteee SC All-Pro S.C. Charter Member

    Jul 8, 2010
    How do they compare to the other camera companies? I know that a lot of companies have down predictions due to the earthquake in Japan and disruptions to parts supply, even the US automobile companies.
     
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  17. stratokaster

    stratokaster SC Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    886
    Dec 27, 2010
    Kiev, Ukraine
    Real Name:
    Pavel
    I think their current woes are transitional. Regular 4/3 cameras and lenses are on their way out, Micro 4/3 is still very much work in progress. Once they get their rumored "Pen Pro" out of the door and solve the problems with most 4/3 lenses not focusing properly on Micro 4/3 bodies, their situation will improve.
     
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  18. soundimageplus

    soundimageplus SC Top Veteran S.C. Charter Member

    578
    Jul 6, 2010
    An interesting snippet from 43rumors http://www.43rumors.com/ft4-hot-samsung-offers-a-16-megapixel-sensor-to-olympus/ saying that Samsung have offered Olympus a 16MP version of their upcoming 18MP APS-C sensor. (All the usual warnings about pinches of salt apply here)

    Certainly there's been a lot of buzz from Samsung recently and they seem to be becoming quite ambitious in the digital camera field. If this rumour is true and they are looking to move into Sony territory as a sensor manufacturer and distributor then things could get interesting. Samsung and Sony going head to head in a sensor war, backed by their enormous R & D budgets could see us getting cameras with highly populated sensors quite quickly.
     
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  19. Djarum

    Djarum SC All-Pro S.C. Charter Member Subscribing Member

    Jul 10, 2010
    Huntsville, AL
    Real Name:
    Jason
    I'm not sure about that. Panasonic already has distribution issues. Panasonic's marketing is just as bad as Olympus'. I would rather see it sold to Sony instead. Maybe even Fuji.
     
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  20. PeterB666

    PeterB666 SC Top Veteran S.C. Charter Member

    Plus 1 on that. I had a play with the X100 on Tuesday night. Such a sweet camera to hold (and surprisingly light). A lens mount and 16mm and 60mm lenses to go with the standard lens would make it ideal.

    Agree. They also need to stop flip-flopping on decisions regarding Four Thirds and get their finger out of it and get a "Pro" Pen and lenses to market ASAP.