I mentioned in a previous blog, that while working for a camera story for over 20 years, I have sold myself on every brand, and actually owned almost every brand of camera. I think they all have some qualities that make them highly favored by a wide range of photographers.
I have owned one of the Olympus pro cameras (The OM-1), and loved this camera. It was a total manual camera, and I found out that if there was any bad photos, it wasn’t the cameras fault. The camera was built well, and I felt proud to own this camera.
The history of Olympus Cameras also goes back quite a while. From Wikipedia, here is a summary of Olympus, the company and the equipment:
In 1936, Olympus introduced its first camera, the Semi-Olympus I, fitted with the first Zuiko-branded lens. The Olympus Chrome Six was a series of folding cameras made by Takachiho, and later Olympus, from 1948 to 1956, for 6×4.5 cm or 6×6 cm exposures on 120 film.
The first innovative camera series from Olympus was the Pen, launched in 1959. It used a half-frame format, taking 72 18×24 mm photographs on a standard 36-exposure 35mm film cassette, which made Pen cameras compact and portable for their time.
The Pen system design team, led by Yoshihisa Maitani, later created the OM system, a full-frame professional 35mm SLR system designed to compete with Nikon and Canon’s bestsellers. The OM system introduced a new trend towards more compact cameras and lenses, being much smaller than its competitors and presenting innovative design features such as off-the-film (OTF) metering and OTF flash automation. Eventually the system included 14 different bodies, approximately 60 Zuiko-branded lenses, and numerous camera accessories.
Olympus Quick Flash camera
In 1983, Olympus, along with Canon, branded a range of video recording equipment manufactured by JVC, and called it “Olympus Video Photography”, even employing renowned photographer Terance Donovan to promote the range. A second version of the system was available the year after, but this was Olympus’ last foray into the world of consumer video equipment until digital cameras became popular.
Tsuyoshi Kikukawa, who was later to become president of Olympus, foresaw the demand for the digital SLR, and is credited with the company’s strategy in digital photography. He fought for commitment by Olympus to enter the market in high-resolution photographic products. As a result of his efforts, Olympus released an 810,000-pixel digital camera for the mass market in 1996, when the resolution of rivals’ offerings was less than half. The next year, Olympus hit the market with a 1.41 million pixel camera. By 2001, the company’s annual turnover from digital photography was in excess of ¥100 billion. Olympus manufactures compact digital cameras and is the designer of the Four Thirds system standard for digital single-lens reflex cameras. Olympus’ Four-Thirds system flagship DSLR camera is the E-5, released in 2010. Olympus is also the largest manufacturer of Four-Thirds lenses, under the Zuiko Digital brand. After the introduction of the Micro Four Thirds system, and the general market growth of the Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Cameras, the regular Four Thirds system became neglected. Then, in 2017, after three years without a new lens, and seven years without a new body, Olympus officially discontinued the Four Thirds system.
Olympus and Panasonic started a new development together, called the Micro Four Thirds system. It was an interchangeable lens system, with the Four Thirds sensor size, and no mirrors (Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera). The lack of mirrors allowed the camera body to be a lot smaller than that of a DSLR, while maintaining its image quality and the interchangeability of the lenses. The first product in the Micro Four Thirds system was the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G1, released in 2008. The first Olympus-branded MFT camera was the Olympus PEN E-P1. Because it was very expensive, they made a cheaper option, called the Olympus PEN Lite E-PL1. The market growth of the MILC cameras made Olympus introduce a new series in their lineup, which was the modern, digital implementation of the legendary OM series, the OM-D. It maintained the Micro Four Thirds system, but added a built-in electronic viewfinder, a more ergonomic button layout packaged in a retro style chassis. The first model in this family was the E-M5, released in 2012. Since then, Olympus has developed their two lines (PEN and OM-D) and the Micro Four Thirds system, still alongside Panasonic. The latest Olympus camera is the Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark IV as of August 20, 2020.
Olympus recently agreed the sale of its imaging division, but its cameras and lenses will continue to be manufactured, sold and serviced by new company OM Digital Solutions (which Olympus retains an ownership stake in). Still, you might be wondering whether you should still consider buying an Olympus camera – and as far as we’re concerned, you definitely should!
The flagship camera of Olympus was meant to rival the top of the line cameras from Nikon, Canon, Fuji, Pentax, and any others. It’s features are phenomenal and in some cases blow away all the other brands. Features like:
- Like a motor drive that will shoot at 60 frames per second in continuous mode
- Tight weatherproof seals, means you can take this anywhere, in any weather condition
- 7.0 EV stops of image stabilization to lose the shakiness you might have in holding the camera still.
- 50MP sensor that is crazy good.
- Lightweight, yet built to take abuse.
- Zuiko lenses from Olympus are some of the best in the world.
- 4K Video shooting, also makes this an ideal video camera
- Built-in WI-FI and blue tooth
If you want to get in to serious photography, then Olympus will be one worth considering.
Now, if you would take a moment and fill out this form, whether you own an Olympus, Nikon, or whatever, we will keep you posted on your email about the news of your camera, lenses, accessories, etc. Something that may help you to enjoy the camera system you have, regardless of the brand: